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Specialized Wound Care at Piedmont Newton Can Save Limbs

Covington, Ga. (March 14, 2019)- At Piedmont Newton Hospital, a dedicated team of providers with specialized training in wound care works with patients to address the chronic, non-healing wounds often caused by complications from diabetes. The multi-disciplinary team will examine your wound, determine why it is not healing, and create a treatment plan designed specifically for you. Every treatment plan includes the goal of preventing amputation.

The proceeds from the Piedmont Newton Hospital Auxiliary’s Concert and Hangar Party on Friday, April 26, will be used to purchase a Transcutaneous Oximetry (TCOM) for the Piedmont Newton Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center, a technology with the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of the estimated 10,000 Newton County residents who suffer from diabetes and who, as a result, are at risk of developing potentially dangerous foot ulcers. By having the equipment in the clinic, patients will no longer need to travel outside of the county to have this test performed. With continued support from our community, Piedmont Newton’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center’s Limb Salvage Program will be able to advance the care provided close to home.

Complications lead to amputations

Many individuals do not think of lower limb amputation as a complication from diabetes, however, research performed by the World Health Organization shows that those with diabetes are 10 times more likely to have a lower limb amputated than those who do not have diabetes.

Not only is diabetes the 10th-leading cause of death in the state of Georgia, but studies shows that 25 percent of people with diabetes will develop a diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime. We also know that 85 percent of patients who undergo amputation started with a diabetic foot ulcer.

All diabetic patients are susceptible to non-healing diabetic foot ulcers because many develop nerve damage, known as neuropathy, in their feet, which lessens the ability to feel pain and discomfort from blisters, sores, calluses, or cuts on the feet. Poor circulation, again caused by the disease, slows the body’s delivery of red blood cells to a wound, slowing healing or preventing healing.

Diabetic foot ulcers and wounds can quickly develop into serious infections of the tissue and bone, called osteomyelitis. These deep infections can lead to amputation of the toes, foot, or even the lower leg, but if left untreated, the infection, called sepsis, can spread to the bloodstream  and become fatal.

However, a major amputation, which is considered an amputation below the knee or higher, also poses a great risk to a patient’s life expectancy. The estimated five-year survival rate of a major amputation for someone without diabetes is around 50 percent. Only 30 percent of those with diabetes who receive a major amputation are alive in five years.

Specialized care close to home

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 10,000 residents in Newton County have diabetes. Therefore, it is likely you know someone with the disease; someone who is at risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer. Piedmont Newton’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center physicians and staff develop customized treatment plans that require multiple visits to monitor the healing progress, so it is important that patients can receive this care close to home.

One of the first things wound care physicians want to know about a diabetic ulcer is how much oxygen is reaching the wound. Using a TCOM, providers place oxygen sensors close to the area of the wound and receive an instant measurement of how much oxygen is being delivered to nearby tissue. The information is used to predict how well a wound may heal and assists the physician in determining the next steps for treatment.

To learn how you can support the Piedmont Newton Hospital Diabetic Limb Salvage program, visit give.piedmont.org/concert.

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