Diabetes patients with high
blood sugar levels are at increased risk for surgical wound-related
complications after having surgery to close chronic skin ulcers caused by
diabetes, a small new study says.
The findings show the need
for better blood sugar control in these patients before they have such surgery,
the researchers noted.
Their study of 79 patients
found that the risk of serious wound complications was more than three times
higher among those with high blood sugar before and after surgery, and in those
with poor long-term diabetes control.
The complications included
wound dehiscence (re-opening of the surgical incision), wound infections and
repeat surgery. Among the specific findings, wound dehiscence occurred in 44% of patients with high blood sugar levels before surgery, compared to 19% of those with good blood sugar control.
Blood sugar swings
The risk of wound
dehiscence was also higher among patients with high blood sugar levels after
surgery and among those with poor long-term diabetes control, according to the
study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Patients with wide swings
in blood sugar levels were four times more likely to require repeat surgery,
according to a journal news release.
Although the study found an
association between higher blood sugar levels and wound problems, it didn't
establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
Episodes of high blood
sugar can occur around the time of surgery even in patients with previously
good diabetes control, said study authors Dr Matthew Endara and Dr
Christopher Attinger, of the Centre for Wound Healing at Georgetown University
in Washington, DC.
They said their findings
point to the importance of good blood sugar control in diabetes patients
undergoing surgery, and said surgeons may need to consult with specialists to
manage patients' diabetes.
The study authors also said
that more research is needed to confirm whether tighter control of blood sugar
levels around the time of surgery will reduce the rate of surgical
The US National Institute
of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about diabetes.