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Diabetic Medicine

Year: 2010  |  Volume: 27  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 848 - 851

A clinical analysis of diabetic patients with hand ulcer in a diabetic foot centre

C. Wang, L. Lv, X. Wen, D. Chen, S. Cen, H. Huang, X. Li and X. Ran

Abstract

Aims The aim of the study was to explore the prevalence and clinical characteristics of hand ulcer in hospitalized patients with diabetes.
Methods We analysed 17 subjects with hand ulcer among diabetic inpatients, who were admitted to the Diabetic Foot Care Center, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University from April 2003 to December 2008.
Results The prevalence of diabetic hand ulcer among hospitalized patients (0.37%) was significantly lower than that of diabetic foot ulcers (9.7%, = 0.000). The mean age was 62.1 ± 9.4 years. The average known durations of diabetes and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) were 5.3 ± 4.9 years and 10.9 ± 2.4%, respectively. All patients lived in the subtropical zone. Fifteen patients (88.2%) were diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Ten patients had hand infection. After therapy, the ulcers healed in 13 patients (76.5%) and none of them experienced amputation. The average hospital stay for patients with local infection was characteristically longer than that for patients without infection (= 0.012). The prognosis of the hand ulcer was poorer in the patients who had diabetes for > 3 years compared with those who had diabetes for < 3 years (= 0.009).
Conclusions Diabetic hand ulcer is a relatively rare complication of diabetes in South-West China. Long duration of diabetes, poorly controlled blood glucose, minor trauma and delayed treatment are the risk factors. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy may play an important role in the pathogenesis of hand ulcer. Early control of blood glucose with insulin and early anti-microbial therapy with appropriate antibiotics are crucial. Debridement and drainage are necessary for hand abscesses.

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