SURGICAL MANAGEMENT OF DIABETIC FOOT COMPLICATIONS: THE FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND PROFILE

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Abstract

Background:

Foot complications in diabetes incur huge human and medical costs. There is a high incidence of complicated diabetes mellitus in Far North Queensland, particularly in the indigenous communities.

Methods:

An audit of 51 patients admitted to Cairns Base Hospital from July 1992 to December 1994 with diabetic foot complications requiring surgical intervention was performed.

Results:

The majority of surgical procedures were for serious infections in neuropathic feet precipitated by minor trauma. Surgical procedures included debridement/drainage, minor amputation, major amputation and arterial bypass. Half of the patients required more than one procedure and/or multiple admissions. Average length of stay was 48 days. Indigenous patients were overrepresented in this audited group.

Conclusions:

Prevention or minimization of diabetic foot complications can be achieved only through improvement in education and vigilance at all levels of the treatment process from community to hospital. Special attention to the needs of indigenous communities with a high incidence of diabetes must be a feature of any future initiatives.

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