Broad-Ranging Nutritional Deficiencies Predict Amputation in Diabetic Foot Ulcers

John Deakin Lees Brookes, Joseph Swaminadan Jaya, Henley Tran, Ashish Vaska, Keagan Werner-Gibbings, Andre C. D’Mello, Jennifer Wong, Chris N. Lemoh, Alan C. Saunder, Ming Kon Yii

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Diabetic foot ulcers present across the spectrum of nonhealing wounds, be it acute or many months duration. There is developing literature highlighting that despite this group having high caloric intake, they often lack the micronutrients essential for wound healing. This study reports a retrospective cohort of patients’ micro- and macro-nutritional state and its relationship to amputation. A retrospective cohort was observed over a 2-month period at one of Australia’s largest tertiary referral centers for diabetic foot infection and vascular surgery. Patient information, duration of ulcer, various biochemical markers of nutrition and infection, and whether the patient required amputation were collected from scanned medical records. A cohort of 48 patients with a broad-spectrum of biochemical markers was established. Average hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was 8.6%. A total of 58.7% had vitamin C deficiency, including 30.4% with severe deficiency, average 22.6 Ł} 5.8 μmol/L; 61.5% had hypoalbuminemia, average albumin 28.7 Ł} 2.5 g/L. Average vitamin B12 was 294.6 Ł} 69.6 pmol/L; 57.9% had low vitamin D, average 46.3 Ł} 8.3 nmol/L. Basic screening scores for caloric intake failed to suggest this biochemical depletion. There was a 52.1% amputation rate; biochemical depletion was associated with risk of amputation with vitamin C (P <.01), albumin (P =.03), and hemoglobin (P =.01), markedly lower in patients managed with amputation than those managed conservatively. There was no relation between duration of ulceration and nutrient depletion. Patients with diabetic foot ulceration rely on multidisciplinary care to optimize their wound healing. An important but often overlooked aspect of this is nutritional state, with micronutrients being very important for the healing of complex wounds. General nutritional screening often fails to identify patients at risk of micronutrient deficiency. There is a high prevalence of vitamin deficiency in patients with diabetic foot ulcers. This presents an excellent avenue for future research to assess if aggressive nutrient replacement can improve outcomes in this cohort of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • diabetic foot ulcers
  • vascular
  • wound infection
  • wound management

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