The aim of this study was to obtain prospective data across a year on foot ulcer outcome (healing versus non-healing) and determinants of outcomes in patients living with diabetes in this specific Maltese population.
The results of this study were later compared with the results of similar studies conducted abroad to determine whether determinants of outcome are congruent or otherwise among different countries.
Individuals were recruited from the diabetes podiatric medical clinic of a local general hospital.
Participants eligible for this study were Maltese individuals older than 18 years living with diabetes according to the World Health Organization diagnostic criteria.
Patients who presented for the first time with new foot ulceration during a 1-year period at an outpatient hospital clinic were enrolled into this observational study.
A total of 101 patients were recruited in this prospective observational study, and were followed and treated until healing was achieved or up to a maximum of 12 months according to a standardised protocol based on the International Consensus on the Diabetic Foot.
Foot ulcerations were classified according to five categories: perfusion, extent, depth, infection and sensation.
This study identified that ulcer characteristics are more predictive of wound healing than are patient characteristics.
Three potential variables — ulcer stage, presence of biofilm and ulcer depth —were identified as important factors related to wound healing.
This study reported that 77 percent of ulcers healed completely and 23 percent resulted in lower limb amputation during the study period.
These findings are important to health care professionals caring for people with diabetic foot ulcerations in that these are simple risk factors that can easily be measured and identified during routine clinical assessment, and early treatment should be initiated to address these factors accordingly.
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