Original Research| Volume 49, ISSUE 1, P43-46, January 2010

Limb-threatening and Life-threatening Diabetic Extremities: Clinical Patterns and Outcomes in 56 Patients


      Limb- and life-threatening hand and foot infections in diabetic patients account for a large proportion of amputations and a substantial number of deaths. Between August 2006 and the end of July 2008, we conducted a prospective cohort study of consecutive diabetic patients with serious hand or foot infections, in an effort to identify clinical patterns and outcomes related to the treatment of these infections. Infections were categorized as dry, gas, and wet gangrene; necrotizing fasciitis or cellulitis; acute extensive osteomyelitis; and any of these infections involving the hand. All of the patients underwent a standard examination and treatment protocol, although none of the patients received vascular surgical care. End points included healing following debridement or minor amputation, major (transtibial or more proximal) amputation, or death. A total of 56 patients were included in the final analyses, and their mean age was 70 (range 51 to 86) years. Of the patients, 17 (30.36%) had necrotizing cellulitis, 12 (21.43%) had wet gangrene, 9 (16.07%) had acute extensive osteomyelitis, 5 (8.93%) had dry gangrene, 5 (8.93%) had gas gangrene, 4 (7.14%) had necrotizing fasciitis, and 4 (7.14) had diffuse hand infections. Five (8.93%) patients died (2 after prior amputation), 26 (46.43%) underwent debridement and/or minor amputation, and 27 (48.21%) required major amputations. Based on our findings, we concluded that 7 patterns of serious limb- or life-threatening infection were identified and, in the absence of vascular surgical intervention, mortality can be reduced at the expense of more amputations.

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      • Erratum
        The Journal of Foot and Ankle SurgeryVol. 49Issue 5
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          In the January/February 2010 issue (volume 49, number 1, pp 43-46) of the Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery, Dr Fonkoue Loic, was incorrectly listed as Dr. Fonfoe Loic in the article ‘‘Limb-threatening and life-threatening diabetic extremities: clinical patterns and outcomes in 56 patients.'’ The Journal regrets the error.
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