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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Surgery 1/2015

Chronic neuropathic ulcer is not the most common antecedent of lower limb infection or amputation among diabetics admitted to a regional hospital in Jamaica: results from a prospective cohort study

BMC Surgery > Ausgabe 1/2015
Jeffrey M. East, Delroy A. Fray, Dwayne E. Hall, Chapman A. Longmore
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. The research and publication fee were funded entirely by the authors from personal resources.

Authors’ contributions

JME conceived of the study, determined the design, facilitated and participated in data acquisition, created the database, performed the statistical analysis, interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript. DAF facilitated data acquisition and participated in revision of the manuscript. DEH facilitated and participated in data acquisition and revision of the manuscript. CAL facilitated and participated in data acquisition and revision of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Guidelines of the International Consensus on the Diabetic Foot state that “Amputation of the lower extremity or part of it is usually preceded by a foot ulcer”. The authors’ impression has been that this statement might not be applicable among patients treated in our institution. A prospective cohort study was designed to determine the frequency distribution of antecedents of lower limb infection or gangrene and amputation among adult diabetics admitted to a Regional Hospital in western Jamaica.


Adult diabetics admitted to Hospital with a primary diagnosis of lower limb infection and/or gangrene were eligible for recruitment for a target sample size of 126. Thirty five variables were assessed for each patient-episode of infection and/or gangrene, main outcome variable being amputation during admission or 6-months follow-up. Primary statistical output is the frequency distribution of antecedents/precipitants of lower limb infection and/or gangrene. The data is interrogated by univariate and multivariable logistic regression for variables statistically associated with the main antecedent/precipitant events.


Data for 128 patient-episodes were recorded. Most common antecedents/precipitants, in order of decreasing frequency, were idiopathic acute soft tissue infection/ulceration (30.5 %, CI; 22.6–39.2 %), chronic neuropathic ulcer (23.4 %, CI; 16.4–31.7 %), closed puncture wounds (19.5 %, CI; 13.1–27.5 %) and critical limb ischemia (7.8 %, CI; 3.8–13.9 %). Variables positively associated with non-traumatic antecedents/precipitants at the 5 % level of significance were male gender and non-ulcerative foot deformity for idiopathic acute soft tissue infection/ulcer; diabetes >5 years, previous infection either limb, insulin dependence and peripheral sensory neuropathy for chronic neuropathic ulcer and older age, diabetes >5 years, hypertension, non-palpable distal pulses and ankle-brachial index ≤0.4 for critical limb ischemia.


Chronic neuropathic ulcer accounted for only 23.4 % of lower limb infections and 27.7 % of amputations in this population of diabetics, making it the second most common antecedent of either after acute idiopathic soft tissue infection/ulcer at 30.5 and 34.7 % respectively. Trauma as a group (defined as closed puncture wounds, lacerations, contusion/blunt trauma and burns) also accounted for a greater number of lower limb infections but fewer amputations than chronic neuropathic ulcer, at 32 and 19.5 % respectively.
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