New research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on amputation prevention in Ontario

A doctor inspecting a foot

This month, Dr. Charles de Mestral and his team have a new paper in the JAMA Network Open journal. The paper, A Population-Based Analysis of Diabetes-Related Care Measures, Foot Complications, and Amputation During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ontario, Canada, looks at the care of 1.4 million Ontarians living with diabetes during the pandemic versus before. The team hoped to clarify the impact of the pandemic on rates of diabetic foot ulceration and amputation, as well as diabetes care measures that influence amputation risk.

Using data for the whole province of Ontario, available from ICES, De Mestral’s team found that the outcomes did not look as stark as data from other countries had suggested. “Despite limited ambulatory in-person assessment by physicians, hospital avoidance and restrictions to scheduled hospital-based procedures, excess leg amputations were not observed among people living with diabetes during the first 11 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada,” De Mestral says.

While this is encouraging, the team also made clear that as the pandemic wraps up, improved prevention and treatment of diabetic foot complications will be necessary to maintain these results.


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