Performance of prognostic markers in the prediction of wound healing or amputation among patients with foot ulcers in diabetes: A systematic review

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2020 Mar:36 Suppl 1:e3278. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.3278.


Clinical outcomes of patients with diabetes, foot ulceration, and peripheral artery disease (PAD) are difficult to predict. The prediction of important clinical outcomes, such as wound healing and major amputation, would be a valuable tool to help guide management and target interventions for limb salvage. Despite the existence of a number of classification tools, no consensus exists as to the most useful bedside tests with which to predict outcome. We here present an updated systematic review from the International Working Group of the Diabetic Foot, comprising 15 studies published between 1980 and 2018 describing almost 6800 patients with diabetes and foot ulceration. Clinical examination findings as well as six non-invasive bedside tests were evaluated for their ability to predict wound healing and amputation. The most useful tests to inform on the probability of healing were skin perfusion pressure ≥ 40 mmHg, toe pressure ≥ 30 mmHg, or TcPO2 ≥ 25 mmHg. With these thresholds, all of these tests increased the probability of healing by greater than 25% in at least one study. To predict major amputation, the most useful tests were ankle pressure < 50 mmHg, ABI < 0.5, toe pressure < 30 mmHg, and TcPO2 < 25 mmHg, which increased the probability of major amputation by greater than 25%. These indicative values may be used as a guide when deciding which patients are at highest risk for poor outcomes and should therefore be evaluated for revascularization at an early stage. However, this should always be considered within the wider context of important co-existing factors such as infection, wound characteristics, and other comorbidities.

Keywords: amputation; diabetes; diabetic foot; peripheral artery disease; prognosis; ulcer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Amputation, Surgical / methods*
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Foot / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Foot / etiology
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Therapies, Investigational
  • Wound Healing*


  • Biomarkers