Global trends in the incidence of hospital admissions for diabetes-related foot disease and amputations: a review of national rates in the 21st century

Peter A. Lazzarini, Susanna M. Cramb, Jonathan Golledge, Jedidiah I. Morton, Dianna J. Magliano, Jaap J. Van Netten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Aims/hypothesis: Diabetic foot disease (DFD) is a leading cause of hospital admissions and amputations. Global trends in diabetes-related amputations have been previously reviewed, but trends in hospital admissions for multiple other DFD conditions have not. This review analysed the published incidence of hospital admissions for DFD conditions (ulceration, infection, peripheral artery disease [PAD], neuropathy) and diabetes-related amputations (minor and major) in nationally representative populations. Methods: PubMed and Embase were searched for peer-reviewed publications between 1 January 2001 and 5 May 2022 using the terms ‘diabetes’, ‘DFD’, ‘amputation’, ‘incidence’ and ‘nation’. Search results were screened and publications reporting the incidence of hospital admissions for a DFD condition or a diabetes-related amputation among a population representative of a country were included. Key data were extracted from included publications and initial rates, end rates and relative trends over time summarised using medians (ranges). Results: Of 2527 publications identified, 71 met the eligibility criteria, reporting admission rates for 27 countries (93% high-income countries). Of the included publications, 14 reported on DFD and 66 reported on amputation (nine reported both). The median (range) incidence of admissions per 1000 person-years with diabetes was 16.3 (8.4–36.6) for DFD conditions (5.1 [1.3–7.6] for ulceration; 5.6 [3.8–9.0] for infection; 2.5 [0.9–3.1] for PAD) and 3.1 (1.4–10.3) for amputations (1.2 [0.2–4.2] for major; 1.6 [0.3–4.3] for minor). The proportions of the reported populations with decreasing, stable and increasing admission trends were 80%, 20% and 0% for DFD conditions (50%, 0% and 50% for ulceration; 50%, 17% and 33% for infection; 67%, 0% and 33% for PAD) and 80%, 7% and 13% for amputations (80%, 17% and 3% for major; 52%, 15% and 33% for minor), respectively. Conclusions/interpretation: These findings suggest that hospital admission rates for all DFD conditions are considerably higher than those for amputations alone and, thus, 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. However, true global conclusions are limited because of a lack of consistent definitions used to identify admission rates for DFD conditions and amputations, alongside a lack of data from low- and middle-income countries. We recommend that these areas are addressed in future studies. Registration: This review was registered in the Open Science Framework database ( Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-287
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Admissions
  • Amputations
  • Diabetes complications
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetic foot
  • Diabetic foot disease
  • Diabetic foot ulcer
  • Epidemiology
  • Hospitalisations
  • Review

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