Globally, diabetes-related foot disease (DFD) is the leading cause of the diabetes disability burden, with some 20 million people worldwide estimated to have DFD, and another 130 million people having a key risk factor for DFD, resulting in around 9 million hospital admissions and 2 million amputations annually.
In this narrative review of 71 publications, Lazzarini et al (2022) analysed the published incidence of hospital admissions for DFD conditions (ulceration, infection, peripheral artery disease, neuropathy) and diabetes-related amputations (minor and major) in nationally representative populations.
The authors’ results suggest that national hospital admission rates are substantially higher for DFD than for amputation alone, and although trends in admission rates for major amputations are decreasing, trends for minor amputations are inconsistent, falling in some countries but rising in others. Trends in admission rates for DFD conditions are also inconsistent and reported in fewer publications than for amputations.
This review's findings suggest that while admission rates for all DFD conditions are higher than those for amputations alone, the more common practice of reporting admission rates only for amputations may substantially underestimate the burden of DFD: ‘While major amputation rates appear to be largely decreasing, this is not the case for hospital admissions for DFD conditions or minor amputation in many populations.’
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