Vascular evaluation and arterial reconstruction of the diabetic foot.Clin Podiatr Med Surg 2003; 20(4):689-708CP
Findings of diminished or absent pulses, pallor on elevation, redness of the foot on lowering of the leg, sluggish refilling of the toe capillaries, and thickened nails or absence of toe hair are consistent with impaired arterial perfusion to the foot. When ischemia is recognized as contributing to pedal ulceration and infection in the diabetic foot, quantitation of its severity may be difficult. Standard clinical evaluation of trophic changes is limited in an infected foot with its accompanying swelling, edema, and erythema. A palpable pedal pulse does not preclude the possibility of the presence of limb-threatening ischemia. Additional non-invasive vascular studies should be undertaken for these patients. Management of the diabetic foot is often a complex clinical problem. However, the principles of care are simple, including correction of systemic factors, such as blood glucose control, cardiovascular risk factor management, and smoking, as well as local factor correction, such as debridement, pressure relief, infection control, and revascularization when indicated. When a patient presents with evidence of infection, adequate drainage and antibiotic therapy are mandatory. The next step should be performed to differentiate the more common neuropathic ulcerations from the truly ischemic ulceration. Symptoms of rest pain or claudication are not often helpful because many of these patients are asymptomatic as a result of the presence of their neuropathy and inactivity. If an infected foot requires debridement or open partial forefoot amputation, observing the wound on a daily base is also important. Once infection is eradicated, there should be prompt signs of healing, including the development of wound granulation within several days. If wounds are not showing signs of prompt healing, arteriography is necessary. Early aggressive drainage, debridement, and local foot amputations combined with liberal use of revascularization results in cumulative limb salvage of 74% at 5 years in high-risk groups. Others report that pedal bypass to the ischemic infected foot is effective and safe as long as infection adequately controlled. These studies strongly suggest that early recognition and aggressive surgical drainage of pedal sepsis followed by surgical revascularization is critical to achieving maximal limb salvage in the high-risk population. Patients who have diabetes present a unique challenge in lower extremity revascularization because of the distal origination of many bypasses, distal distribution of the occlusive disease, and the frequently calcified arterial wall. An aggressive multidisciplinary approach to foot disease associated with diabetes involving the primary care provider, medical specialists, interventional radiology, and podiatric, plastic, and vascular surgeons will provide optimal medical and surgical care. Peripheral vascular disease is highly treatable if intervention is instituted in a timely and collegial fashion.