Risk factors for delayed healing of neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers: a pooled analysis

Arch Dermatol. 2000 Dec;136(12):1531-5. doi: 10.1001/archderm.136.12.1531.


Objective: To estimate the effect of various risk factors on the probability that neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers will heal within 20 weeks of care.

Design and setting: A pooled or meta-analysis of individual patient data from the standard care arms of 5 randomized clinical trials was conducted. We analyzed 586 subjects with diabetes mellitus who had a neuropathic diabetic foot ulcer. All patients received good wound care, debridement, and "off-loading" of the wound.

Main outcome measure: Multivariable logistic regression was used to calculate the magnitude of the association of each risk factor with patients having healed wounds.

Results: Logistic regression odds ratios (ORs; 95% confidence intervals [95% CIs]) revealed that those patients with a diabetic neuropathic foot ulcer that healed within 20 weeks using standard care were more likely to have a smaller wound (OR = 0.67; 95% CI, 0.55-0.81), a wound that existed for a shorter period (OR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.61-0.87), and be nonwhite (OR = 0.64; 95% CI, 0.43-0.96) compared with patients whose wounds did not heal within 20 weeks. The patient's age (OR = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.89-1.01), serum level of glycosylated hemoglobin at the start of the study (OR = 1.03; 95% CI, 0.97-1.10), and sex (OR = 1. 02; 95% CI, 0.69-1.50) were unassociated with the probability of wound healing. Substantial heterogeneity was not found among the studies.

Conclusions: A standard care regimen for diabetic neuropathic foot ulcers is most likely to be effective for patients who have wounds that are small and of brief duration. This information should help dermatologists decide initially whether to use standard care, to try a new treatment, or to refer the patient to a specialty center.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetic Foot / pathology*
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing*