Nutritional interventions for treating foot ulcers in people with diabetes

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Abstract

Background: Foot ulcers in people with diabetes are non-healing, or poorly healing, partial, or full-thickness wounds below the ankle. These ulcers are common, expensive to manage and cause significant morbidity and mortality. The presence of a wound has an impact on nutritional status because of the metabolic cost of repairing tissue damage, in addition to the nutrient losses via wound fluid. Nutritional interventions may improve wound healing of foot ulcers in people with diabetes. Objectives: To evaluate the effects of nutritional interventions on the healing of foot ulcers in people with diabetes. Search methods: In March 2020 we searched the Cochrane Wounds Specialised Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); Ovid MEDLINE; Ovid Embase and EBSCO CINAHL Plus. We also searched clinical trials registries for ongoing and unpublished studies, and scanned reference lists of relevant included studies as well as reviews, meta-analyses and health technology reports to identify additional studies. There were no restrictions with respect to language, date of publication or study setting. Selection criteria: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the effect of nutritional interventions on the healing of foot ulcers in people with diabetes. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors, working independently, assessed included RCTs for their risk of bias and rated the certainty of evidence using GRADE methodology, using pre-determined inclusion and quality criteria. Main results: We identified nine RCTs (629 participants). Studies explored oral nutritional interventions as follows: a protein (20 g protein per 200 mL bottle), 1 kcal/mL ready-to-drink, nutritional supplement with added vitamins, minerals and trace elements; arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate supplement; 220 mg zinc sulphate supplements; 250 mg magnesium oxide supplements; 1000 mg/day omega-3 fatty acid from flaxseed oil; 150,000 IU of vitamin D, versus 300,000 IU of vitamin D; 250 mg magnesium oxide plus 400 IU vitamin E and 50,000 IU vitamin D supplements. The comparator in eight studies was placebo, and in one study a different dose of vitamin D. Eight studies reported the primary outcome measure of ulcer healing; only two studies reported a measure of complete healing. Six further studies reported measures of change in ulcer dimension, these studies reported only individual parameters of ulcer dimensions (i.e. length, width and depth) and not change in ulcer volume. All of the evidence identified was very low certainty. We downgraded it for risks of bias, indirectness and imprecision. It is uncertain whether oral nutritional supplement with 20 g protein per 200 mL bottle, 1 kcal/mL, nutritional supplement with added vitamins, minerals and trace elements, increases the proportion of ulcers healed at six months more than placebo (risk ratio (RR) 0.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.42 to 1.53). It is also uncertain whether arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate supplement increases the proportion of ulcers healed at 16 weeks compared with placebo (RR 1.09, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.40). It is uncertain whether the following interventions change parameters of ulcer dimensions over time when compared with placebo; 220 mg zinc sulphate supplement containing 50 mg elemental zinc, 250 mg magnesium oxide supplement, 1000 mg/day omega-3 fatty acid from flaxseed oil supplement, magnesium and vitamin E co-supplementation and vitamin D supplementation. It is also uncertain whether 150,000 IU of vitamin D, impacts ulcer dimensions when compared with 300,000 IU of vitamin D. Two studies explored some of the secondary outcomes of interest for this review. It is uncertain whether oral nutritional supplement with 20 g protein per 200 mL bottle, 1 kcal/mL, nutritional supplement with added vitamins, minerals and trace elements, reduces the number of deaths (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.06 to 14.60) or amputations (RR 4.82, 95% CI 0.24 to 95.88) more than placebo. It is uncertain whether arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate supplement increases health-related quality of life at 16 weeks more than placebo (MD −0.03, 95% CI −0.09 to 0.03). It is also uncertain whether arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate supplement reduces the numbers of new ulcers (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.71 to 1.51), or amputations (RR 0.66, 95% CI 0.16 to 2.69) more than placebo. None of the included studies reported the secondary outcomes cost of intervention, acceptability of the intervention (or satisfaction) with respect to patient comfort, length of patient hospital stay, surgical interventions, or osteomyelitis incidence. One study exploring the impact of arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate supplement versus placebo did not report on any relevant outcomes. Authors' conclusions: Evidence for the impact of nutritional interventions on the healing of foot ulcers in people with diabetes compared with no nutritional supplementation, or compared with a different dose of nutritional supplementation, remains uncertain, with eight studies showing no clear benefit or harm. It is also uncertain whether there is a difference in rates of adverse events, amputation rate, development of new foot ulcers, or quality of life, between nutritional interventions and placebo. More research is needed to clarify the impact of nutritional interventions on the healing of foot ulcers in people with diabetes.

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Moore, Z. E. H., Corcoran, M. A., & Patton, D. (2020, July 16). Nutritional interventions for treating foot ulcers in people with diabetes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011378.pub2

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