Older adults with heel ulcers in the acute care setting: Frequency of noninvasive vascular assessment, surgical intervention, and 1-year mortality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To examine how often hospitalized older adults with a diagnosis of heel ulcers are evaluated with noninvasive vascular tests and to determine the impact of invasive vascular or surgical procedures on 1-year mortality. Design: Retrospective review using an electronic database and chart review of all patients discharged with a diagnosis of heel ulcer between 2006 and2009. Setting: Urban teaching hospital. Participants: A total of 506 participants aged 65 years and older. Measurements: Data collected included resident characteristics (demographics, medical history, and severity of illness using the Charlson comorbidity index), staging of heel ulcers, rates of noninvasive vascular assessments, vascular and surgical procedures, length of stay, and 1-year mortality. Results: Thirty-one percent (155/506) of patients with a heel ulcer underwent noninvasive vascular testing and of these 83% (129/155) were found to have underlying ischemia. Twenty-six percent (130/506) of patients underwent at least 1 vascular or surgical procedure. The 1-year mortality rate for patients with stage 1 or 2 disease was 55%; this rose to 70% for patients with stage 3 or 4 ulcers (P= .01), and could not be explained by differences in the Charlson comorbidity index. Patients who underwent a vascular or surgical procedure had a significantly lower mortality compared with those who did not (59% vs 68% P= .04). Conclusion: Older adults with a heel ulcer in the acute care setting are frequently not assessed for underlying ischemia of the lower extremities. The diagnosis carries high 1-year mortality rates. Evidence-based protocols need to be developed to determine which older adults should have a vascular assessment and then undergo an invasive procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)916-919
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • Heels
  • Older adults
  • Pressure ulcers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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