Nationwide trends in the epidemiology of diabetic foot complications and lower-extremity amputation over an 8-year period

Cheng Wei Lin, David G. Armstrong, Chia Hung Lin, Pi Hua Liu, Shih Yuan Hung, Shu Ru Lee, Chung Huei Huang, Yu Yao Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective To study the prevalence and trends of lower extremity complications of diabetes over an 8-year period in a single nation. Research design and methods Nationwide data for people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and diabetic foot complications (DFCs) were analyzed over an 8-year period (2007-2014) from National Health Insurance Research Database using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision disease coding. The DFCs were defined as ulcers, infections, gangrene, and hospitalization for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Trends of patient characteristics, foot presentation, and the execution of major procedures were studied, including lower-extremity amputations (LEAs). Results Along with the T2D population increasing over time, the absolute number of people with DFCs increased by 33.4%, but retained a prevalence of around 2% per year. The annual incident of LEAs decreased from 2.85 to 2.06 per 1000 T2D population (p=0.001) with the major LEA proportion decreasing from 56.2% to 47.4% (p<0.001). The mean age of patients increased from 65.3 to 66.3 years and most of the associated comorbidities of diabetes were increased. For example, end-stage renal disease increased from 4.9% to 7.7% (p=0.008). The incidence of gangrene on presentation decreased from 14.7% to 11.3% (p<0.001) with a concomitant increase in vascular interventions (6.2% to 19.5%, p<0.001). Conclusions DFCs remain a sustained major medical problem. These nationwide long-term data suggest trends toward older people with greater comorbidities such as PAD and renal disease. Nevertheless, promising trends of reducing gangrene on presentation paired with increases in vascular interventions support continued vigilance and rapid, coordinated interdisciplinary diabetic foot care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere000795
JournalBMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Foot Complications
  • Limb Ischemia
  • Lower Limb Amputation
  • National Health Surveys
  • Revascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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