By: Jan Chait
A test that measures muscle activity can predict the development of foot ulcers, while other tests can predict amputation and even death, say researchers at the Manchester Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom.
Using motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV), which measures muscle activity related to nerve function, and other tests, the researchers studied 169 subjects who had diabetes but did not have a significant decrease in blood flow to the legs. They were compared with 22 controls who did not have diabetes.
Over a six-year follow-up period, 37.3 percent of the individuals with diabetes developed a new foot ulcer, which was best predicted with MNCV. Tests that best predicted amputation were those measuring pressure perception and thickness of walls in the arteries of the legs. During the study period, 11.2 percent of the subjects had either a minor or major lower-limb amputation.
The chances of dying were best predicted by a combination of creatinine levels, MNCV and skin oxygen levels. High levels of creatinine—a waste product from protein in the diet and from the muscles in the body—are associated with kidney disease.
—Diabetes Care, November 2002