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Minerva Chirurgica 2000 March;55(3):147-52

language: Italian

Diabetic foot. Personal experience in a surgical unit

Cavallini M., Murante G., Caterino S., Volpini M., Montesi M., Fallucca F.


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Background. The aim of this study is to evaluate a major amputation risk criterion in diabetic patients with trophic lesions of the foot.
The records of a series of 100 consecutive patients (65 males and 35 females) with diabetic foot ulcer treated in our surgical facilities between January 1992 and December 1997, in collaboration with diabetologists and podiatrists, have been reviewed retrospectively.
Methods. In 26 cases the ulcer involved both limbs and, therefore, the feet observed in this study have been 126. Accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause was the first step and in cases with a poor blood supply (69 limbs; 55%) unresponsive to medical therapy (44 limbs) vascular recostruction (37 limbs), spinal cord stimulator (SCS) implantation (3 limbs) or major amputation (4 limbs) were performed. According to Wagner grading there were 42 grade 2 ulcers (33%), 38 grade 3 (30%), 43 grade 4 (34%) ad 3 grade 5 (3%).
Results. One patient died postoperatively after SCS implantation. All but 4 neuropathic ulcers (53 limbs) healed in a mean time (±SD) of 5.2±3.8 months and all but 10 vascular ulcers (59 limbs) healed in a mean time of 6.3±4.1 months. Of the latter group in 4 cases the patient died before ulcer healing while in 6 cases (8.7%) a major amputation was performed (in 2 cases after vascular recostruction procedures). Minor amputations of the forefoot have been performed in 23 instances (33%) of vascular ulcer and in 10 cases (17%) of neuropathic ulcer.
Conclusions. Since ischemia is the main risk factor for amputation, it is suggested that a particular effort should be made in improving the vascular diagnostic, both clinical and strumental, capabilities of our diabetologists and podiatrists in order to detect the vascular insufficiency in earlier stages.

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