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J Intern Med. 1994 May;235(5):463-71.

Diabetic foot ulcers in a multidisciplinary setting. An economic analysis of primary healing and healing with amputation.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Lund, Sweden.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To perform an economic analysis of primary healing and healing with amputation in diabetic patients with foot ulcers.

DESIGN:

A retrospective economic analysis based on a prospective study of consecutively presenting diabetic patients admitted to the Department of Internal Medicine because of foot ulcer.

SETTING:

A multidisciplinary foot-care team.

SUBJECTS:

A total of 314 consecutively presenting diabetic patients with foot ulcers. Forty patients died before healing occurred. In those patients who healed primarily (n = 197) or after amputation (n = 77), a retrospective economic analysis was performed.

INTERVENTIONS:

All patients were treated by a multidisciplinary foot care team consisting of diabetologist, orthopaedic surgeon, diabetes nurse, podiatrist and orthotist both as in- and out-patients. The patients were followed by the team from admittance until final outcome, i.e. primary healing or healing with amputation or death.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Data from both the prospectively collected patient material and from patient records were used to estimate the cost for hospital care, antibiotics, surgery, out-patient care, staff attendance, drugs and material for ulcer dressings, and orthopaedic appliances.

RESULTS:

The total costs were SEK 51,000 (3000-808,000) for patients with primary healing and SEK 344,000 (27,000-992,000) for healing with amputation. Costs for in-patient care were 37% of total average costs for primary healing and 82% for patients with amputation. The costs for topical treatment of the ulcers in out-patient care were 45% of the total average cost for primary healed and 13% for patients who healed with amputation. The costs for products used for ulcer dressings were 21% of total costs for topical treatment, i.e. 9% and 3% of total average costs for primary healing and healing with amputation, respectively. Costs for visits to the foot care team, antibiotics and orthopaedic appliances were low in relation to total costs.

CONCLUSION:

Treatment of diabetic patients with foot ulcers in a multidisciplinary system was associated with relatively low costs. Healing with amputation was associated with high costs mainly due to multiple and extended hospitalization. These findings indicate the potential cost savings of preventive and multidisciplinary foot care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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