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Improving Post-Limb Revascularization Care in Patients with Diabetes Could Prevent Amputation

Posted June 19, 2014

The quality of post-surgical care is important for any patient, regardless of the type of surgery he or she undergoes. But when the patient also has diabetes, extra precautions are warranted both during and after surgery.

A recent study underscores the importance of post-surgical care for patients with diabetes who undergo lower-limb surgery to restore blood flow to the legs and feet (surgical revascularization) due to critical limb ischemia (CLI). These patients are at high risk for amputation or death, even when their inpatient procedures are successful, the study says.

The retrospective study examined the Medicare claim records of 172,134 patients with CLI who underwent open and endovascular lower-limb revascularization procedures from 2004-2007, 84,653 of whom had diabetes. The researchers examined relationships between the frequency of diabetic testing with amputation-free survival, major adverse limb events, and rates of readmission across all U.S. hospital referral regions.

The researchers found that patients with diabetes who underwent open revascularization lower-limb surgery in regions with the highest diabetic testing had significantly improved amputation-free survival and lower rates of major adverse limb events persisting up to two years after the surgery.

Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by the journal Annals of Vascular Surgery.

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