The Society for Vascular Surgery Wound, Ischemia, and foot Infection (WIfI) classification system correlates with cost of care for diabetic foot ulcers treated in a multidisciplinary setting

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Abstract

Objective:

We have previously demonstrated that the Society for Vascular Surgery Wound, Ischemia, and foot Infection (WIfI) classification correlates with wound healing time in patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) treated in a multidisciplinary setting. Our aim was to assess whether the charges and costs associated with DFU care increase with higher WIfI stages.

Methods:

All patients presenting to our multidisciplinary diabetic limb preservation service from June 2012 to June 2016 were enrolled in a prospective database. Inpatient and outpatient charges, costs, and total revenue from initial visit until complete wound healing were compared for wounds stratified by WIfI classification.

Results:

A total of 319 wound episodes in 248 patients were captured, including 31% WIfI stage 1, 16% stage 2, 30% stage 3, and 24% stage 4 wounds. Limb salvage at 1 year was 95% ± 2%, and wound healing was achieved in 85% ± 2%. The mean number of overall inpatient admissions (stage 1, 2.07 ± 0.48 vs stage 4, 3.40 ± 0.27; P < .001), procedure-related admissions (stage 1, 1.86 ± 0.45 vs stage 4, 2.28 ± 0.24; P < .001), and inpatient vascular interventions (stage 1, 0.14 ± 0.10 vs stage 4, 0.80 ± 0.12; P < .001) increased significantly with increasing WIfI stage. There were no significant differences in mean number of inpatient podiatric interventions or outpatient procedures between groups (P ≥ .10). The total cost of care per wound episode increased progressively from stage 1 ($3995 ± $1047) to stage 4 ($50,546 ± $4887) wounds (P < .001). Inpatient costs were significantly higher for advanced stage wounds (stage 1, $21,296 ± $4445 vs stage 4, $54,513 ± $5001; P < .001), whereas outpatient procedure costs were not significantly different between groups (P = .72). Overall, hospital total revenue increased with increasing WIfI stage (stage 1, $4182 ± $1185 vs stage 4, $55,790 ± $5540; P < .002).

Conclusions:

Increasing WIfI stage is associated with a prolonged wound healing time, a higher number of surgical procedures, and an increased cost of care. While limb salvage outcomes are excellent, the overall cost of DFU care from presentation to healing is substantial, especially for patients with advanced (WIfI stage 3/4) disease treated in a multidisciplinary setting.

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