Outpatient clinic attendance and outcomes among patients hospitalized with diabetic foot ulcers

Important, revealing work from Emory’s diabetic foot team featuring Marcos Schechter from a county hospital system.

Background: There are limited data on post-hospital discharge clinic attendance rates and outcomes among patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs).

Methods: Retrospective study of patients hospitalized with a DFU from 2016 to 2019 in a large public hospital. We measured rates and predictors of clinic attendance with providers involved with DFU care within 30 days of hospital discharge (“30-day post-discharge clinic attendance”). Log-binomial regression was used to estimate risk ratios (RR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI).

Results: Among 888 patients, 60.0 % were between 45 and 64 years old, 80.5 % were Black, and 24.1 % were uninsured. Overall, 478 (53.8 %) attended ≥1 30-day post-discharge clinic appointment. Initial hospital outcomes were associated with clinic attendance. For example, the RR of 30-day post-discharge clinic attendance was 1.39 (95%CI 1.19-1.61) among patients who underwent a major amputation compared to patients with DFUs without osteomyelitis and did not undergo an amputation during the initial hospitalization. Among 390 patients with known 12-month outcome, 71 (18.2 %) had a major amputation or died ≤12 months of hospital discharge.

Conclusion: We found a low post-discharge clinic attendance and high post-discharge amputation and death rates among patients hospitalized with DFUs. Interventions to increase access to outpatient DFU care are needed and could prevent amputations.

Keywords: Amputations; Clinic attendance; Diabetic foot ulcers.

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