Objective: To determine the effect of contact with a podiatrist on the occurrence of Lower Extremity Amputation (LEA) in people with diabetes.
Design and data sources: We conducted a systematic review of available literature on the effect of contact with a podiatrist on the risk of LEA in people with diabetes. Eligible studies, published in English, were identified through searches of PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE and Cochrane databases. The key terms, 'podiatry', 'amputation' and 'diabetes', were searched as Medical Subject Heading terms. Reference lists of selected papers were hand-searched for additional articles. No date restrictions were imposed.
Study selection: Published randomised and analytical observational studies of the effect of contact with a podiatrist on the risk of LEA in people with diabetes were included. Cross-sectional studies, review articles, chart reviews and case series were excluded. Two reviewers independently assessed titles, abstracts and full articles to identify eligible studies and extracted data related to the study design, characteristics of participants, interventions, outcomes, control for confounding factors and risk estimates.
Analysis: Meta-analysis was performed separately for randomised and non-randomised studies. Relative risks (RRs) with 95% CIs were estimated with fixed and random effects models as appropriate.
Results: Six studies met the inclusion criteria and five provided data included in meta-analysis. The identified studies were heterogenous in design and included people with diabetes at both low and high risk of amputation. Contact with a podiatrist did not significantly affect the RR of LEA in a meta-analysis of available data from randomised controlled trials (RCTs); (1.41, 95% CI 0.20 to 9.78, 2 RCTs) or from cohort studies; (0.73, 95% CI 0.39 to 1.33, 3 Cohort studies with four substudies in one cohort).
Conclusions: There are very limited data available on the effect of contact with a podiatrist on the risk of LEA in people with diabetes.