A foot care program for diabetic unilateral lower-limb amputees

Anne L. Carrington, Caroline A. Abbott, Joan Griffiths, Nicky Jackson, Sylvia R. Johnson, Jai Kulkarni, Ernest R E Van Ross, Andrew J M Boulton

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    OBJECTIVE - To assess the efficacy of a specialist foot care program designed to prevent a second amputation and to assess peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and peripheral neuropathy in diabetic unilateral lower-limb amputees. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - Investigations were carried out in 143 diabetic lower-limb unilateral amputees referred to a subregional rehabilitation center for prosthetic care from a catchment area of ∼3 million people. Peripheral vascular and nerve assessment, education, and podiatry were provided for each patient. RESULTS - For the patients referred to the foot care program, there were no baseline differences between the patients who proceeded to a bilateral amputation (n = 22) and those who remained as unilateral amputees (n = 121) in their level of foot care knowledge and mean neuropathy scores. Mean ankle-brachial pressure index was significantly lower for the bilateral amputees (0.75 ± 0.04) compared with the unilateral amputees (0.90 ± 0.03, mean ± SEM, P <0.05), but there was no difference in the level of oxygen in the skin. However, the level of carbon dioxide was significantly lower in patients with bilateral amputation (24.21 ± 2.16 vs. 31.20 ± 0.85 mmHg, P <0.03). Overall, the establishment of a specialist foot care program made no impact on contralateral limb amputation (22 of 143, 15.4%) compared with matched patients without the program (21 of 148, 14%) over a 2-year outcome period for each patient. CONCLUSIONS - PVD is more closely associated with diabetic bilateral amputation than neuropathy or level of foot care knowledge. Preventative foot care programs for diabetic unilateral amputees should therefore place greater emphasis on peripheral vascular assessment to identify patients at risk and on the development of timely intervention strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)216-221
    Number of pages5
    JournalDiabetes Care
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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