Racial Disparities in Health Care With Timing to Amputation Following Diabetic Foot Ulcer @ALPSlimb #ActAgainstAmputation

Important work from Miller and coworkers in Diabetes Care.

Objective: To examine variations in timing of lower-limb amputation (LLA) across race/ethnicity and sex among older adults with a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). It was hypothesized Black/African Americans were more likely to have LLA post-DFU earlier compared with non-Hispanic/Whites, and more men would receive LLA earlier post-DFU compared with women.

Research design and methods: This was a retrospective cohort analysis of enrolled Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries with a diagnosis of DFU during the study period (2012-2017), allowing up to 5 years post-DFU. Final analytic sample contained 643,287 individuals; the subsample consisted of 68,633 individuals with LLA only. The primary outcome was mutually exclusive groups based on timing of LLA. Multinomial logistic regression was applied to assess likelihood of membership into a group post-DFU based on characteristics such as sex and race/ethnicity.

Results: Black/African American beneficiaries had 1.98 (95% CI 1.93-2.03) times the odds of receiving an LLA within 1 year of DFU diagnosis compared with non-Hispanic/White beneficiaries relative to no amputation. Female beneficiaries had increased odds (odds ratio [OR] 1.07, 95% CI 1.02-1.11] between 1 and 3 years and OR 1.08 [95% CI 1.03-1.12] in ≥3 years) of a delayed LLA compared with men among those that underwent LLA.

Conclusions: Notably, these results present novel evidence on timing of LLA between racial groups and sex for Medicare FFS beneficiaries post-DFU. Results may be generalizable to individuals with Medicare FFS and DFU. Clinically more targeted, evidence-based decision making informs care decisions with opportunities to address inequities related to the social determinants of health that may lead to LLA.

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