Incidence and risk factors for developing infection in patients presenting with uninfected diabetic foot ulcers
Authors: Jia L., Parker C.N., Parker T.J., Kinnear E.M., Derhy P.H., Alvarado A.M., Huygens F., Lazzarini P.A.
Publication: PLoS ONE
Start Page: e0177916
Objective: There is a paucity of research on patients presenting with uninfected diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) that go on to develop infection. We aimed to investigate the incidence and risk factors for developing infection in a large regional cohort of patients presenting with uninfected DFUs.
Methods: We performed a secondary analysis of data collected from a validated prospective statewide clinical diabetic foot database in Queensland (Australia). Patients presenting for their first visit with an uninfected DFU to a Diabetic Foot Service in one of thirteen Queensland regions between January 2012 and December 2013 were included. Socio-demographic, medical history, foot disease history, DFU characteristics and treatment variables were captured at the first visit. Patients were followed until their DFU healed, or if their DFU did not heal for 12-months, to determine if they developed a foot infection in that period.
Results: Overall, 853 patients were included; mean(standard deviation) age 62.9(12.8) years, 68.0% male, 90.9% type 2 diabetes, 13.6% indigenous Australians. Foot infection developed in 342 patients for an overall incidence of 40.1%; 32.4% incidence in DFUs healed <3 months, 55.9% in DFUs healed between 3±12 months (p<0.05). Independent risk factors (Odds Ratio (95% confidence interval)) for developing infection were: DFUs healed between 3±12 months (2.3 (1.6±3.3)), deep DFUs (2.2 (1.2±3.9)), peripheral neuropathy (1.8 (1.1±2.9)), previous DFU history (1.7 (1.2±2.4)), foot deformity (1.4 (1.0±2.0)), female gender (1.5 (1.1±2.1)) and years of age (0.98 (0.97±0.99)) (all p<0.05).
Conclusions: A considerable proportion of patients presenting with an uninfected DFU will develop an infection prior to healing. To prevent infection clinicians treating patients with uninfected DFUs should be particularly vigilant with those presenting with deep DFUs, previous DFU history, peripheral neuropathy, foot deformity, younger age, female gender and DFUs that have not healed by 3 months after presentation.