SAN DIEGO (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS)Early wound closure prior to hospital discharge after surgical debridement of infected diabetic foot ulcers yields higher ulcer healing rates and a shorter time to healing, compared with various nonclosure wound management methods, according to a propensity-matched study.

How best to manage the open wound following nonamputative surgery of infected diabetic foot ulcers has been controversial. But early wound closure during the index hospitalization was the clear winner in this comparative study, Dr. Shey-Ying Chen reported at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

He presented a retrospective comparison between 179 diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) patients with early wound closure after surgical debridement and an equal number of matched controls treated with various nonclosure techniques, including negative pressure wound therapy and the repeated application of moist dressings. The two study groups were matched first on the basis of DFU location – toe, forefoot, midfoot, or rear foot – and then further propensity matched based on demographics, comorbid conditions, the presence of neuropathy, ulcer status by Wagner classification, infection severity, revascularization procedures, and other variables.

During 1 year of follow-up post discharge, ulcer healing occurred in 75% of the early wound closure group, compared with 66% of the nonclosure patients. Readmission for further treatment of the index ulcer occurred in 33% of the early closure group and 52% of the nonclosure group. Other outcomes were also superior in the early wound closure group, noted Dr. Chen of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.

Two independent predictors of DFU healing during the follow-up period emerged from a Cox regression analysis: early wound closure, with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.63, and acute as opposed to chronic DFU, with an OR of 1.35.

Ulcer healing was significantly less likely in patients with peripheral vascular disease, with an OR of 0.62; neuropathy, with an OR of 0.53; and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus wound infection, with an OR of 0.59, he continued.

Underscoring the longer-term difficulties faced by patients with DFUs, it’s noteworthy that 11.5% of patients in both study arms underwent new amputations during the year of follow-up. Moreover, a new diagnosis of osteomyelitis was made in 20% of the early wound closure group and 26% of the nonclosure group, a nonsignificant difference.

Dr. Adolf W. Karchmer, Dr. Chen’s senior coinvestigator, said the outcome data are too new to be able to gauge how vascular, orthopedic, and podiatric surgeons will react.

The investigators reported having no financial conflicts with regard to this study, conducted without commercial sponsorship.