Debridement performance index and its correlation with complete closure of diabetic foot ulcers

Authors

  • Liliana J. Saap MD,

    1. From the Department of Dermatology and Skin Surgery, Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island, and
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  • Vincent Falanga MD, FACP

    1. From the Department of Dermatology and Skin Surgery, Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island, and
    2. Department of Dermatology and Biochemistry,b Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.
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Reprint requests: Vincent Falanga, MD, FACP, Professor of Dermatology and Biochemistry, Department of Dermatology, Roger Williams Medical Center, 50 Maude Street Providence, RI 02908. Fax: (401) 456-6449; Email: vfalanga@bu.edu.

Abstract

In recent years there has been wider acceptance of aggressive surgical debridement as a means to accelerate closure of diabetic foot ulcers. In a clinical trial by Steed et al.1 involving the use of a topically applied growth factor, thorough surgical debridement of surrounding callus, necrotic ulcer bed, and undermined ulcers' edges was associated with greater incidence of healing and effectiveness of the therapeutic agent. However, at present there is no established way to judge the appropriate extent of debridement and its performance. Here we describe a scoring system to assess whether debridement has been performed adequately. Our scoring system consists of the following three categories: debridement of a) callus; b) ulcer's edge undermining; and c) wound bed necrotic tissue. We assigned a score of 0–2 to each of these categories using the following criteria: 0 = debridement needed but not done, 1 = debridement needed and done, and 2 = debridement not needed. These three scores are then added to give a total ranging from 0 to 6, with the highest number being the optimal score. This instrument, the Debridement Performance Index, evaluates both the adequacy of debridement and whether the ulcer has been or is being properly debrided. To initiate the validation of this scoring system and determine its predictive value for wound closure by week 12, we applied it to 143 patients with diabetic foot ulcers who had been treated in a clinical trial involving either standard therapy (n = 65) or the application of a bioengineered skin construct (n = 78). We blindly evaluated sequential digital photographs of each diabetic foot ulcer and applied the Debridement Performance Index score at day 0, before initiation of either treatment. We found that the lower the baseline Debridement Performance Index the lower the incidence of ultimate wound closure by week 12 ( p = 0.0276). Patients with a Debridement Performance Index between 3 and 6 were 2.4 times more likely to heal than those with a score of 0–2. After controlling for treatment, the Debridement Performance Index was found to be an independent predictor of wound closure (odds ratio = 2.4 95% confidence interval = 1.0–5.6). In conclusion, this novel scoring system for debridement performance appears to be very promising as a predictive tool for determining outcome in clinical trials and, most likely, in clinical practice. (WOUND REP REG 2002;10:354–359)

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