Can aggressive treatment of diabetic foot infections reduce the need for above-ankle amputation?

Clin Infect Dis. 1996 Aug;23(2):286-91. doi: 10.1093/clinids/23.2.286.


We retrospectively evaluated the charts of 112 patients with diabetic foot infection to determine if early aggressive surgical intervention improves outcome. All patients were classified into two groups on the basis of the timing of surgical intervention and appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Group I included patients who underwent no surgical intervention during the first 3 days of hospitalization but received intravenous antimicrobial therapy, and group II included patients who underwent surgical intervention promptly and received intravenous antimicrobial therapy. Group II was further divided; group IIA included patients who underwent debridement, and group IIB included patients who underwent local limited amputation. A higher rate of patients in group I than in group II (27.6% vs. 13%, respectively; P < .01) required above-ankle amputation during the same hospitalization or subsequent admission. Overall, an aggressive surgical approach against foot infection in hospitalized diabetic patients reduced the need for above-ankle amputation and the length of hospital stay by at least 6 days. Treatment of diabetic foot infection requires the combination of early surgical treatment and antimicrobial therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amputation
  • Ankle / surgery*
  • Bacteremia / complications
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Bacteremia / therapy*
  • Diabetic Foot / complications
  • Diabetic Foot / microbiology
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome