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Adverse events in diabetic foot infections: a case control study comparing early versus delayed medical treatment after home remedies

Authors Cawich SO, Harnarayan P, Islam S, Budhooram S, Ramsewak S, Naraynsingh V

Received 4 August 2014

Accepted for publication 1 October 2014

Published 27 November 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 239—243

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S72236

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Frank Papatheofanis

Shamir O Cawich, Patrick Harnarayan, Shariful Islam, Steve Budhooram, Shivaa Ramsewak, Vijay Naraynsingh

Department of Clinical Surgical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies


Background: The aim of conventional medical therapy in diabetic foot infections is to control infection, thereby reducing amputation rates, infectious morbidity, and death. Any delay incurred during a trial of home remedies could allow an infection to progress unchecked, increasing the risk of these adverse outcomes. This study sought to determine the effects of delayed operative interventions and amputations in these patients.
Methods: A questionnaire study targeting all consecutive patients admitted with diabetic foot infection was carried out over 1 year. Two groups were defined, ie, a medical therapy group comprising patients who sought medical attention after detecting their infection and a home remedy group comprising those who voluntarily chose to delay medical therapy in favor of home remedies. The patients were followed throughout their hospital admissions. We recorded the duration of hospitalization and number of operative debridements and amputations performed.
Results: There were 695 patients with diabetic foot infections, comprising 382 in the medical therapy group and 313 in the home remedy group. Many were previously hospitalized for foot infections in the medical therapy (78%) and home remedy (74.8%) groups. The trial of home remedies lasted for a mean duration of 8.9 days. The home remedy group had a longer duration of hospitalization (16.3 versus 8.5 days; P<0.001), more operative debridements (99.7% versus 94.5%; P<0.001), and more debridements per patient (2.85 versus 2.45; P<0.001). Additionally, in the home remedy group, there was an estimated increase in expenditure of US $10,821.72 US per patient and a trend toward more major amputations (9.3% versus 5.2%; P=0.073).
Conclusion: There are negative outcomes when patients delay conventional medical therapy in favour of home remedies to treat diabetic foot infections. These treatments need not be mutually exclusive. We encourage persons with diabetes who wish to try home remedies to seek medical advice in addition as a part of holistic care.

Keywords: diabetic foot infections, adverse events, medical treatment, home remedies

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