Diabetic foot ulcers and infections: current concepts.

Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, USA.
Advances in Skin & Wound Care (Impact Factor: 1.5). 12/2001; 15(1):31-42; quiz 44-5. DOI: 10.1097/00129334-200201000-00011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT PURPOSE: To offer an educational experience that will help improve the participant's understanding of diabetic foot ulcers and infections.
TARGET AUDIENCE: This CME/CE activity is intended for physicians and nurses with an interest in the prevention and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and infections.
1. Describe the factors that put a diabetic patient's foot at risk for ulceration.
2. Identify the components of optimal treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.
3. Explain the roles of vascular and orthopaedic surgery in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and infections.

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    ABSTRACT: Foot infections are common and the most serious lower extremity complication contributing to amputations, particularly in patients with diabetes mellitus. Infection is most often a consequence of foot ulcerations, which typically follows trauma to a neuropathic foot. Foot infections may be classified as mild, moderate and severe; this largely determines the approach to therapy. Gram-positive bacteria are the sole causative pathogens for most mild and moderate infections. These infections can usually be treated with culture-based narrow-spectrum antibacterials along with appropriate surgical debridement in an outpatient setting. In contrast, severe infections are often polymicrobial, requiring hospitalisation and treatment with broad-spectrum antibacterials along with appropriate medical and surgical interventions. The initial empirical antibacterial regimen may be tailored based on the results of culture and sensitivity tests from properly obtained specimens. Several antibacterial regimens have demonstrated effectiveness in randomised controlled trials, but no single regimen has shown superiority. Managing diabetic foot osteomyelitis is particularly controversial and requires reliable cultures to select an appropriate antibacterial regimen. Surgical resection of the infected and necrotic bone favours a good outcome in chronic osteomyelitis. The recommended duration of antibacterial therapy ranges from 1 to 4 weeks for soft tissue infection, to >6 weeks for unresected osteomyelitis. The incidence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection is increasing in both the healthcare setting and the community. This should be considered when selecting an antibacterial, especially if the patient does not improve with initial antibacterial therapy. Certain other organisms, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterococcus spp., while potentially pathogenic, are often colonisers that do not require targeted therapy.
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    ABSTRACT: Diabetes mellitus is a serious, life-long condition that is the sixth leading cause of death in North America. Dermatologists frequently encounter patients with diabetes mellitus. Up to 25% of patients with diabetes mellitus will develop diabetic foot ulcers. Foot ulcer patients have an increased risk of amputation and increased mortality rate. The high-risk diabetic foot can be identified with a simplified screening, and subsequent foot ulcers can be prevented. Early recognition of the high-risk foot and timely treatment will save legs and improve patients' quality of life. Peripheral arterial disease, neuropathy, deformity, previous amputation, and infection are the main factors contributing to the development of diabetic foot ulcers. Early recognition of the high-risk foot is imperative to decrease the rates of mortality and morbidity. An interprofessional approach (ie, physicians, nurses, and foot care specialists) is often needed to support patients' needs.
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