Background: The complex diabetic lower extremity wound has not been well studied. There are a variety of new technologies now being applied with a paucity of evidence in evaluating their outcomes. The aim of this study is to describe clinical outcomes in the complex lower extremity wound in the comorbid host. We hypothesized that treatment choice would have minimal impact on healing outcomes in this compromised population. Methods: A multicenter retrospective registry of patients with diabetes and lower extremity wounds was created to compare treatment modalities of collagen-glycosaminoglycan scaffold, negative-pressure wound therapy, local tissue flap, and free tissue transfer. Statistical analyses included descriptive, proportional comparisons and Cox regression. Results: There were no statistical differences in age, hemoglobin A1c, or body mass index between groups. Study patients had a history of amputation (40.5%), peripheral vascular disease (54.6%), peripheral neuropathy (64.8%), end-stage renal disease (13.9%), renal/hepatic disease (40.4%), and hypertension (85%). The most common wound etiologies were surgical dehiscence (69%), diabetic neuropathic wounds (39%), and ischemic wounds (28%), most commonly located on the foot or at a prior amputation site (30%). Mean wound area was 57.9 cm2 and almost half with exposed bone. There were no statistical differences between treatment groups in proportion or time to healing, recurrence, or time to return to baseline function. Conclusions: Commonly used treatment modalities employed for this population of patients resulted in similar outcomes. This is the first study to describe the complex diabetic lower extremity wound in a complex host.
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