Australian guideline on wound classification of diabetes-related foot ulcers: part of the 2021 Australian evidence-based guidelines for diabetes-related foot disease

on behalf of the Australian Diabetes-related Foot Disease Guidelines & Pathways Project, Emma J. Hamilton, Joanna Scheepers, Hayley Ryan, Byron M. Perrin, James Charles, Jane Cheney, Stephen M. Twigg

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Background: Wound classification systems are useful tools to characterise diabetes-related foot ulcers (DFU) and are utilised for the purpose of clinical assessment, to promote effective communication between health professionals, and to support clinical audit and benchmarking. Australian guidelines regarding wound classification in patients with DFU are outdated. We aimed to adapt existing international guidelines for wound classification to develop new evidence-based Australian guidelines for wound classification in people with diabetes and DFU. Methods: Recommended NHRMC procedures were followed to adapt suitable International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot (IWGDF) guidelines on wound classification to the Australian health context. Five IWGDF wound classification recommendations were evaluated and assessed according to the ADAPTE and GRADE systems. We compared our judgements with IWGDF judgements to decide if recommendations should be adopted, adapted or excluded in an Australian context. We re-evaluated the quality of evidence and strength of recommendation ratings, provided justifications for the recommendation and outlined any special considerations for implementation, subgroups, monitoring and future research in an Australian setting. Results: After the five recommendations from the IWGDF 2019 guidelines on the classification of DFUs were evaluated by the panel, two were adopted and three were adapted to be more suitable for Australia. The main reasons for adapting, were to align the recommendations to existing Australian standards of care, especially in specialist settings, to maintain consistency with existing recommendations for documentation, audit and benchmarking and to be more appropriate, acceptable and applicable to an Australian context. In Australia, we recommend the use of the SINBAD system as a minimum standard to document the characteristics of a DFU for the purposes of communication among health professionals and for regional/national/international audit. In contrast to the IWGDF who recommend against usage, in Australia we recommend caution in the use of existing wound classification systems to provide an individual prognosis for a person with diabetes and a foot ulcer. Conclusions: We have developed new guidelines for wound classification for people with diabetes and a foot ulcer that are appropriate and applicable for use across diverse care settings and geographical locations in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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