Incidence and Risk Factors Associated With Ulcer Recurrence Among Patients With Diabetic Foot Ulcers Treated in a Multidisciplinary Setting

Caitlin W. Hicks, Joseph K. Canner, Nestoras Mathioudakis, Christopher Lippincott, Ronald L. Sherman, Christopher J. Abularrage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recent studies demonstrate favorable diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) healing outcomes with the implementation of a multidisciplinary team. We aimed to describe the incidence of and risk factors associated with ulcer recurrence after initial complete healing among a cohort of patients with DFU treated in a multidisciplinary setting. Methods: All patients presenting to our multidisciplinary diabetic limb preservation service from 6/2012-04/2018 were enrolled in a prospective database. The incidence of ulcer recurrence after complete wound healing was assessed per limb using the Kaplan-Meier method, and a stepwise multivariable Cox proportional hazards model was created to identify independent predictors of ulcer recurrence. Results: A total of 244 patients with 304 affected limbs were included. Ulcer recurrence rates at one and 3 y after healing were 30.6 ± 3.0% and 64.4 ± 5.2%, respectively. Recurrent ulcers were smaller (4.4 ± 1.1 cm2 versus 8.2 ± 1.2 cm2; P = 0.04) and had a lower Wound, Ischemia, and foot Infection stage (stage 4: 7.7% versus 22.4%; P < 0.001) than initial ulcers, and wound healing time was significantly reduced (95.0 ± 9.8 versus 131.8 ± 7.0 d; P = 0.004). Independent predictors of ulcer recurrence included abnormal proprioception (HR, 1.57 [95% CI 1.02-4.43]) and younger age (HR 1.02 per year [95% CI 1.01-1.04]). Conclusions: In this prospective cohort of patients with DFU, time to diagnosis and healing was significantly lower for recurrent ulcers, and downstaging was common. These data suggest that engaging patients with DFU in a multidisciplinary care model with frequent follow-up and focused patient education may serve to decrease DFU morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Diabetic foot ulcer
  • Diabetic foot wound
  • Multidisciplinary team
  • Ulcer recurrence
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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