To address the need for increased screening for diabetic foot ulcers, Dr. Ortega and Gerald Weber, DPM, Attending Physician, Department of Orthopedic
Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center Wound Healing Program, have developed the first comprehensive screening program.
The Diabetes Complications Detection, Treatment and Prevention Program to be implemented by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in 2011, will be available to
hospital patients as well as the general public.
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About one in every six patients with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer, and of those, one in four will require
amputation. Beginning with even a small skin injury, a diabetic foot wound can worsen to include deeper layers of
skin, muscle, and bone.
Diabetic Ulcer on Left Ankle Source
This is why it is crucial for people to be screened not only for ulcers but for their risk factors. If a patient is found to have one or more risk factors for
diabetic foot ulcers, then that should lead to more frequent screenings for ulcers themselves," says Felix R. Ortega, MD, Director,NewYork-
Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center Wound Healing Program.
Every patient will receive comprehensive and standardized evaluations that include tests designed to detect diabetic complications even before symptoms
appear. At the same time, the program will collect complete data on every patient in order to study the effect of specific treatment regimens among patients
with particular characteristics. Randomized to different types of treatments at the Columbia Wound Healing Program, patients will be followed at regular
intervals and their data gathered for at least three to five years. "For each type of patient, we will be able to prospectively determine which treatments are most
effective," says Dr. Weber.
This is the first time that treatments for diabetic foot ulcers will be compared in this comprehensive manner. The data gathered by the program will likely be
used by the Department of Health, the National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies to conduct individual clinical studies.
For more information, call 917-882-3530 or 212-932-4325.
Given the seriousness of diabetic ulcers, one might think that screening should be well organized and routine across the
medical profession. Unfortunately, however it is not. Foot ulcers are frequently overlooked during routine physical exams
and because patients cannot feel them, they can be ignored for long stretches of time.By the time a patient seeks help, it has often become serious.