Diabetic foot and lower limb amputations at central, provincial and tertiary hospitals-underscores the need for organised foot health services at primary healthcare level

Simiso Ntuli, Dimakatso Maria Letswalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Diabetic foot amputations are a devastating outcome for any diabetic patient. They are associated with various risk factors, including failure to risk stratify the diabetic foot. Early risk stratification could lower foot complications risk at the primary healthcare level (PHC). In the Republic of South Africa (RSA), PHC clinics are the first entry point to the public healthcare system. Failure to correctly identify, risk categorise, and refer diabetic foot complications at this level may lead to poor clinical outcomes for diabetic patients. This study looks at the incidence of diabetic-related amputations at central and tertiary hospitals in Gauteng to highlight the case of the needed foot health services at the PHC level. Methods: A cross-sectional retrospective study that reviewed prospectively collected theatre records database of all patients who underwent a diabetic-related foot and lower limb amputation between January 2017 and June 2019. Inferential and descriptive statistics were performed, and patient demographics, risk factors and type of amputation were reviewed. Results: There were 1862 diabetic-related amputations in the period under review. Most patients (98 %) came from a poor socioeconomic background earning ZAR 0.00–70 000.00 (USD 0.00–4754.41) per annum. Most amputations, 62 % were in males, and the majority, 71 % of amputations, were in patients younger than 65. The first amputation was major in 73 % of the cases, and an infected foot ulcer was a primary amputation cause in 75 % of patients. Conclusion: Amputations are a sign of poor clinical outcomes for diabetic patients. Due to the hierarchal nature of healthcare delivery in RSA, diabetic-related foot amputations could imply inadequate care of or access to diabetic foot complications at the PHC level in RSA. A lack of access to structured foot health services at PHC levels impedes early identification of foot complication identification and appropriate referral resulting in amputation in some of the patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102039
JournalFoot
Volume56
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Diabetic foot amputations
  • Diabetic foot complications
  • Foot health services
  • Podiatry
  • Primary healthcare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Podiatry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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