Validation of a diabetic wound classification system. The contribution of depth, infection, and ischemia to risk of amputation

Diabetes Care. 1998 May;21(5):855-9. doi: 10.2337/diacare.21.5.855.


Objective: To validate a wound classification instrument that includes assessment of depth, infection, and ischemia based on the eventual outcome of the wound.

Research design and methods: We evaluated the medical records of 360 diabetic patients presenting for care of foot wounds at a multidisciplinary tertiary care foot clinic. As per protocol, all patients had a standardized evaluation to assess wound depth, sensory neuropathy, vascular insufficiency, and infection. Patients were assessed at 6 months after their initial evaluation to see whether an amputation had been performed.

Results: There was a significant overall trend toward increased prevalence of amputations as wounds increased in both depth (chi 2trend = 143.1, P < 0.001) and stage (chi 2trend = 91.0, P < 0.001). This was true for every subcategory as well with the exception of noninfected, nonischemic ulcers. There were no amputations performed within this stage during the follow-up period. Patients were more than 11 times more likely to receive a midfoot or higher level amputation if their wound probed to bone (18.3 vs. 2.0%, P < 0.001, chi 2 = 31.5, odds ratio (OR) = 11.1, CI = 4.0-30.3). Patients with infection and ischemia were nearly 90 times more likely to receive a midfoot or higher amputation compared with patients in less advanced wound stages (76.5 vs. 3.5%, P < 0.001, chi 2 = 133.5, OR = 89.6, CI = 25-316).

Conclusions: Outcomes deteriorated with increasing grade and stage of wounds when measured using the University of Texas Wound Classification System.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation / statistics & numerical data
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Diabetic Foot / classification*
  • Diabetic Foot / microbiology
  • Diabetic Foot / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Wound Infection / microbiology