The Challenge of Diabetic Foot
Networked, committed, professional.
There are currently about eight million people with diabetes in Germany – and the number is growing. One late complication of this metabolic disease is foot ulcers, which often ultimately require amputation. In view of this situation involving ever higher stakes for both the patient and those providing treatment, L&R organized a press workshop in Vienna on 27 January 2016 entitled “Innovative Wound Therapy – the Challenge of Diabetic Foot” Together with users and medical journalists, Wolfgang Süßle, CEO and President, and Dr Christian Rohrer, Head of Research and Development, outlined structural solutions focused on the needs of users and patients. The consensus of the experts was that innovative, interdisciplinary wound management can help improve outcomes considerably. To meet the challenge of DF, the essential conditions for wound healing, i.e. an interdisciplinary network and effective local wound therapy, must be optimized.
As Dr Claudia Ellert, consultant in vascular surgery, Lahn-Dill-Kliniken, Wetzlar, explained, among the challenges of this metabolic disease are late complications such as diabetic foot, which affects approximately one in four people with diabetes in their lifetime. She added, “Diabetic foot is the most common cause of amputation in Germany. In many cases, amputation could have been avoided with a multidisciplinary treatment approach.”
As Anita Mysor, wound manager, Krefeld/Berlin, explained, “The development of diabetic foot ulcers in the long term can be best avoided by effective wound management which fully addresses the question as to why a wound develops where it does. Both pressure protection and patient counseling and training are important factors here.” Lower leg ulcers covering a large surface area in particular tend to have a protracted course in inpatient and outpatient settings. Following debridement, dressings appropriate for the wound healing phase are applied to the wound. “The aim is to promote granulation and epithelization of the wound,” explained Anita Mysor.
Using negative pressure therapy
As Dr Claudia Ellert pointed out, negative pressure therapy is considered the gold standard in the treatment of complex wounds following debridement. Data from Armstrong et al.1 also confirm the benefits of negative pressure therapy: In 162 patients who underwent minor amputation due to diabetic foot, the healing rate after 112 days with negative pressure therapy was 56% compared to 39% with conventional moist wound management. The time to wound healing was 56 and 77 days, respectively. Dr Claudia Ellert summarized the findings as follows: “These results show that negative pressure therapy leads to more effective wound healing and wound closure, provides a better quality of life for the patient and results in shorter hospital stays and thus lower treatment costs.” Whereas the application of negative pressure dressings often used to be difficult and very time-consuming, it is now easy, fast and gentle on the skin with the innovative Suprasorb CNP EasyDress. The negative pressure dressing is applied considerably more quickly than is the case with conventional dressing methods. This translates to time savings of up to 90%.2
Networked and innovative
It is not only the close collaboration with users in both in-patient and out-patient care networks that plays a crucial role. As Dr. Christian Rohrer, Head of Research and development, also explained, “To ensure the success of our innovations, we have institutionalized the process of innovation management, and we seek out technologies and ideas, evaluate them and implement them in close, confidential collaboration with users and patients.” The first priority is to understand the needs of doctors, nursing staff and wound experts and then to develop care solutions that fully address these needs. “Thus our mission has expanded to provide more than just optimal product solutions,” explained Wolfgang Süßle, CEO and President. “To adequately address the problems, we must also provide services, concepts and guidance that go beyond the product itself and support patient care by means of practice-oriented, scientifically sound guidelines and recommendations.” That this is the right approach is demonstrated by the company’s success. Last year saw L&R significantly expand its international presence in diverse parts of the world, in particular in the USA, China, North Africa and in the Middle East. The company achieved an annual turnover in excess of 557 million euros in 2015 – a 6.4% increase over the previous year.
(1) Armstrong et al. Negative Pressure Wound Therapy After Partial Diabetic Foot Amputation Negative. Lancet, 2005
(2) Duft M, Ostapowicz D, de Lange S, Griesshammer K, Abel M: Audit on the usability, user and patient satisfaction of tubular bandage. Multi-center international post-marketing study under real conditions, 2015