Treatment Failure and Leg Amputation Among Patients With Foot Osteomyelitis

Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2016 Dec;15(4):303-312. doi: 10.1177/1534734616661058. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


We sought to identify factors associated with treatment failure and leg amputations among those patients who presented with foot osteomyelitis. Characteristics, treatments, and outcomes for all patients treated for probable or definite foot osteomyelitis (per consensus definition) between January 2011 and March 2015 were reviewed. Multivariate Cox regression models were used to identify risk factors for treatment failure (unanticipated resection of additional bone or leg amputation) and of leg amputation alone. A total of 184 episodes of foot osteomyelitis met inclusion criteria. Treatment failure occurred in 53 (28.8%) and leg amputation in 21 (11.4%). Risk factors for treatment failure included severe/unaddressed peripheral artery disease, homelessness, Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Escherichia coli bone isolates, serum albumin <2.8 mg/dL, hallux involvement, insulin therapy, 60 or more pack-years smoking, and <7 days of directed antibiotic therapy for a positive bone margin. Delayed primary wound closure (ie, staged operations) had significantly lower treatment failure risk. Unanticipated resection of bone was not associated with leg amputation. Foot osteomyelitis treatment failure is common. Various factors can help identify those at risk for treatment failure and/or leg amputation, and further studies should focused whether initial management or follow-up should change when these factors are present.

Keywords: diabetes; gangrene; osteomyelitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amputation, Surgical*
  • Diabetic Foot
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteomyelitis / surgery*
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Failure*