Risk factors for foot ulceration in adults with end-stage renal disease on dialysis: a prospective observational cohort study

Michelle R. Kaminski, Katrina A. Lambert, Anita Raspovic, Lawrence P. McMahon, Bircan Erbas, Peter F. Mount, Peter G. Kerr, Karl B. Landorf

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BACKGROUND: Dialysis patients experience high rates of foot ulceration. Although risk factors for ulceration have been extensively studied in patients with diabetes, there is limited high-quality, longitudinal evidence in the dialysis population. Therefore, this study investigated risk factors for foot ulceration in a stable dialysis cohort. METHODS: We prospectively collected clinical, demographic, health status, and foot examination information on 450 adults with end-stage renal disease from satellite and home-therapy dialysis units in Melbourne, Australia over 12 months. The primary outcome was foot ulceration. Cox proportional hazard modelling and multinomial regression were used to investigate risk factors. RESULTS: Among 450 dialysis patients (mean age, 67.5 years; 64.7% male; 94% hemodialysis; 50.2% diabetes), new cases of foot ulceration were identified in 81 (18%) participants. Overall, risk factors for foot ulceration were neuropathy (HR 3.02; 95% CI 1.48 to 6.15) and previous ulceration (HR 2.86; CI 1.53 to 5.34). In those without history of ulceration, nail pathology (RR 3.85; CI 1.08 to 13.75) and neuropathy (RR 2.66; CI 1.04 to 6.82) were risk factors. In those with history of ulceration, neuropathy (RR 11.23; CI 3.16 to 39.87), peripheral arterial disease (RR 7.15; CI 2.24 to 22.82) and cerebrovascular disease (RR 2.08; CI 1.04 to 4.16) were risk factors. There were 12 (2.7%) new amputations, 96 (21.3%) infections, 24 (5.3%) revascularizations, 42 (9.3%) foot-related hospitalizations, and 52 (11.6%) deaths. CONCLUSIONS: Neuropathy and previous ulceration are major risk factors for foot ulceration in dialysis patients. Risk factors differ between those with and without prior ulceration. The risk factors identified will help to reduce the incidence of ulceration and its associated complications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number423
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019


  • Amputation
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Dialysis
  • Foot ulcer
  • Risk factors

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