Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine's picture

By Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine Journal Review Club

Chronic wounds require an increased amount of oxygen to help with cellular function and growth. They often manifest with biofilm, slough, and necrotic tissue, all of which deprive cells of the oxygen they need to perform vital functions. Various forms of debridement are commonly employed to rid wounds of pathological tissues that negatively affect cellular communication and growth. Sharp surgical debridement is most frequently performed by physicians. Continuous diffusion of oxygen (CDO) involves the use of humidified, purified air at 3mL/hour in conjunction with moist wound therapy (MWT) dressing. A previous paper by Niederauer et al. published in 2018 in the Journal of Wound Care, described using CDO for healing DFUs. This study showed that CDO improved the healing rate of DFUs in terms of time, chronicity, and weight-bearing ability when compared to a placebo. Additionally, the previous paper described wound size, chronicity, and adverse events.

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Holly Hovan MSN, RN-BC, APRN, CWOCN-AP

Diabetes is extremely prevalent in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that over 10% of the US population has this chronic disease, and 26.8% of older adults (65 and over) are impacted by diabetes, both diagnosed and undiagnosed.

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Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine's picture

By Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine Journal Review Club

Chronic diabetic foot ulcers affect approximately 13% of the United States population. Chronic diabetic foot ulcers, or DFU, are defined by the authors as, “nonhealing ulcers of the foot lasting more than 3 months’ duration in patients with diabetes”. It is critical to treat DFUs effectively and timely, as ulcers may progress to the point of requiring an amputation. Patients suffering from a DFU may have an amputation rate of 21.5% to 28.4%.

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By the WoundSource Editors

Collateral circulation: A collateral blood vessel circuit that may be adapted or remodeled to minimize the use of occluded arteries. Collateralization may offset some of the physiological signs of peripheral artery disease, such as maintaining a normal capillary refill.

Critical limb ischemia: A severe form of peripheral arterial disease in which a severe blockage of the arteries of the lower extremities reduces blood flow. It is a chronic condition that is often characterized by wounds of the lower extremity.

Dependent rubor: A light red to dusky-red coloration that is visible when the leg is in a dependent position (such as hanging off the edge of a table) but not when it is elevated above the heart. The presence of dependent rubor is often an indicator of underlying peripheral arterial disease. When the leg is raised above the level of the heart, its color will normalize.

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By the WoundSource Editors

Lower extremity wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), venous ulcers, and arterial ulcers have been linked to poor patient outcomes, such as patient mortality and recurrence of the wound. Although precise recurrence rates can be difficult to determine and can vary across different patient populations, we do know that the recurrence rates of lower extremity wounds are quite high.

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By the WoundSource Editors

Wounds of the lower extremity, such as chronic venous leg ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers, often have a severe impact on patients' quality of life. Symptoms may range from mild to debilitating, depending on the location of the injury and its severity. These types of wounds also affect a tremendous number of people because lower extremity wounds are estimated to occur in up to 13% of the United States population. The estimated annual cost of treating lower extremity wounds is at least $20 billion in the United States.

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By the WoundSource Editors

Chronic wounds pose an ongoing challenge for clinicians, and there needs to be a clearer understanding of the pathophysiology of wound chronicity and treatment modalities available.

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Frequently Asked Questions

By Windy Cole, DPM

In my recent WoundSource webinar, I discussed the topic of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and using advanced therapies to encourage their healing. The webinar is still available for viewing on WoundSource.com. Chronic lower extremity wounds present significant challenges with regard to effective wound management. Ischemia, microcirculatory dysfunction and peripheral vascular disease cause limitations in blood flow that can delay the healing process.

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 Evidence-Based Product for Diabetic Foot Ulcer Management

By the WoundSource Editors

When determining the course of action for treating a given wound, it is important that wound care clinicians evaluate how advanced wound care therapies have been deemed evidence based and how the specific product technology works. Evidence-based advanced wound care products are required to be safe and effective based on epidemiology, etiology, and pathophysiology. However, safety and efficiency are not a 100% guarantee of effectiveness in clinical practice.

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Diabetic Foot Ulcer Care and Patient Support

By the WoundSource Editors

Diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) complications are challenging and costly. Evidence-based practice and advanced wound care technologies have the potential to maximize good outcomes and prevent ulcer recurrence, but ensuring that patients receive education on diabetes management and DFU prevention is also a vital step. Over time, people with unmanaged diabetes have increased chances of complications such as neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), chronic DFUs, infections, osteomyelitis, amputation, and even death.

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