AIM: To determine how routinely collected data can inform a risk model to predict de novo foot ulcer presentation in the primary care setting.

METHODS: Data were available on 15 727 individuals without foot ulcers and 1125 individuals with new foot ulcers over a 12-year follow-up in UK primary care. We examined known risk factors and added putative risk factors in our logistic model.

RESULTS: People with foot ulcers were 4.2 years older (95% CI 3.1-5.2) than those without, and had a higher HbA1c concentration [+0.45 (95% CI 0.33-0.56), creatinine level [+6.9 μmol/L (95% CI 4.1-9.8)] and Townsend score [+0.055 (95% CI 0.033-0.077)]. Absence of monofilament sensation was more common in people with foot ulcers (28% vs 21%; P<0.0001), as was absence of foot pulses (6.4% vs 4.8%; P=0.017). There was no difference between people with or without foot ulcers in smoking status, gender, history of stroke or foot deformity, although foot deformity was extremely rare (0.4% in people with foot ulcers, 0.6% in people without foot ulcers). Combining risk factors in a single logistic regression model gave modest predictive power, with an area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve of 0.65 (95% CI 0.62-0.67). The prevalence of ulceration in the bottom decile of risk was 1.8% and in the top decile it was 13.4% (compared with an overall prevalence of 6.5%); thus, the presence of all six risk factors gave a relative risk of 7.4 for development of a foot ulcer over 12 years.

CONCLUSION: We have made some progress towards defining a variable set that can be used to create a foot ulcer prediction model. More accurate determination of foot deformity/pedal circulation in primary care may improve the predictive value of such a future risk model, as will identification of additional risk variables. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetic medicine: a journal of the British Diabetic Association
Early online date15 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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