Important work from the UK’s Primary Care Database suggests that the incidence of diabetic foot ulcers, hospitalizations and mortality appears to have reduced over the past decade in people with type 2 diabetes.
Aims: A diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) is a severe condition associated with morbidity and mortality. Population-based studies are rare and limited by access to reliable data. Without this data, efforts in primary prevention cannot be evaluated. Therefore, we examined incidence and changes over time for the first DFU in people with diabetes. We also examined hospitalization and all-cause mortality and their changes over time.
Methods: From the UK primary care CPRD GOLD database (2007-2017), we identified 129,624 people with diabetes by a prescription for insulin or a non- insulin anti-diabetic drug. DFUs were identified using Read codes and expressed as incidence rates (IRs). Changes over time were described using Poisson and logistic regression and expressed as incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and odds ratios (ORs), respectively.
Results: The mean IR of first registered DFUs was 2.5 [95% CI: 2.1-2.9] per 1000 person-years for people with type 2 diabetes and 1.6 [1.3-1.9] per 1000 person-years for people with type 1. The IRs declined for people with type 2 diabetes (IRR per year: 0.97 [0.96-0.99]), while no changes were observed for people with type 1 diabetes (IRR per year: 0.96 [0.89-1.04]). Average hospitalization and 1-year mortality-risk for people with type 2 diabetes were 8.2% [SD: 4.7] and 11.7% [SD: 2.2] respectively. Both declined over time (OR: 0.89 [0.84, 0.94] and 0.94 [0.89, 0.99]).
Conclusion: The decline in all IRs, hospitalizations and mortality in people with type 2 diabetes suggests that prevention and care of the first DFU has
improved for this group in primary care in the UK.
Keywords: diabetes mellitus; diabetic foot disease; diabetic foot ulcer; hospitalization; mortality.