Sudomotor dysfunction is associated with foot ulceration in diabetes

Diabet Med. 2009 Mar;26(3):302-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2009.02677.x.


Aim: To examine the relationship between sudomotor dysfunction and foot ulceration (FU) in patients with diabetes.

Methods: Ninety patients with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes [30 without peripheral sensorimotor neuropathy (PN), 30 with PN but without FU and 30 with FU] were recruited in this cross-sectional study. Assessment of PN was based on neuropathy symptom score (NSS), neuropathy disability score (NDS) and vibration perception threshold (VPT). Sudomotor dysfunction was assessed using the sympathetic skin response (SSR). Cardiac autonomic nervous system activity was assessed by the battery of the classical autonomic function tests.

Results: Patients with foot ulcers had longer duration of diabetes, higher values of VPT and NDS and lower values of the autonomic functions tests in comparison with the other study groups. Sudomotor dysfunction and cardiac autonomic neuropathy were significantly more common in the FU group. Multivariate logistic regression analysis after adjustment for gender, body mass index, duration of diabetes and glycated haemoglobin (HbA(1c)) demonstrated that the odds ratio (95% confidence intervals) of FU increased with measures of neuropathy such as NDS >or= 6 (10.2, 6.2-17.3) and VPT >or= 25 volts (19.8, 9.9-47.5), but was also significantly increased with absent SSR (15.3, 5.3-38.4).

Conclusions: Sudomotor dysfunction is associated with increased risk of FU and should be included in the screening tests for identification of diabetic patients at risk of ulceration.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Foot / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic