Diabetic foot ulcer outcomes point to racial and rural disparities

Dr. Meghan Brennan stands outside wearing dark-rimmed glasses and an orange sweater

A recent study led by Meghan Brennan, MD, MS, assistant professor, Infectious Disease, found that rural patients who identify as Black are at increased risk of death or leg amputation due to diabetic foot ulcers.

The study was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network.

Researchers found that while the overall group had a 17.6% rate of major amputation or death, people who identified as Black had a rate of 21.9%, a 4.3% disparity. Those living in rural areas had a 0.7% increase in death or amputation. The amplified effect for rural people who identify as Black was not the sum of the two (5%), but rather an increase of 10.4% in death and amputation.

Brennan said the results may indicate a failure of the ambulatory health care system and of triage, as specialists like vascular surgeons and infectious disease specialists who make up wound salvage teams are much less common in rural health care settings.

Dr. Brennan’s co-authors from the Department of Medicine:

Read the full article from UW SMPH

Banner: Meghan Brennan, MD, MS. Credit: Clint Thayer/Department of Medicine.