Aims/hypothesis: We sought to identify factors related to short-term outcome of foot ulcers in patients with diabetes treated in a multidisciplinary system until healing was achieved.
Methods: Consecutively presenting patients with diabetes and worst foot ulcer (Wagner grade 1-5, below ankle) (n = 2,511) were prospectively followed and treated according to a standardised protocol until healing was achieved or until death. The number of patients lost to dropout was 31. The characteristics of the remaining 2,480 patients were: 1,465 men, age 68 +/- 15 years (range 18-96), type 1 diabetes 18%, type 2 diabetes 82% and insulin-treated 62%.
Results: The healing rate without major amputation in surviving patients was 90.6% (n = 1,867). Sixty-five per cent (n = 1,617) were healed primarily, 9% (n = 250) after minor amputation and 8% after major amputation; 17% (n = 420) died unhealed. Out of 2,060 surviving patients, 1,007 were neuroischaemic (48.8%). In a multiple regression analysis, primary healing was related to co-morbidity, duration of diabetes, extent of peripheral vascular disease and type of ulcer. In neuropathic ulcers, deep foot infection, site of ulcer and co-morbidity were related to amputation. Amputation in neuroischaemic ulcers was related to co-morbidity, peripheral vascular disease and type of ulcer. Age, sex, duration of diabetes, neuropathy, deformity and duration of ulcer or site of ulcer did not have an evident influence on probability of amputation.
Conclusions/interpretation: Patients with diabetic foot ulcer suffer from multi-organ disease. Factors related to outcome are correspondingly complex.