Diabetic Foot Ulcers Linked to Premature Death

Published Online: Friday, November 9, 2012
People with diabetes who develop foot ulcers are at more risk of dying prematurely than those without the wounds, according to a study published in the November 2012 edition of Diabetologia.

The study, which serves as the largest meta-analysis examining the link between diabetic foot ulceration (DFU) and mortality, examined 17,830 patients from 8 studies between 2006 and 2011. Of these patients, 3095 were diagnosed with DFU.

The prevalence of coronary artery disease was significantly higher among those with DFU (31.4% vs 14.7%), as was that of both hypertension (57.6% vs 35.7%) and hypercholesterolemia (47.6% vs 11.1%). During follow-up, researchers noted that 34% of DFU patients died compared with 17% of diabetic patients without ulcers. In addition, rates of fatal myocardial infarction and fatal stroke were also higher among those with DFU.

The authors noted that the increased mortality in DFU patients may be related to their more advanced stage of diabetes and increased number of infections.

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