Cost-effective method for treating diabetic foot: Improved healing lessens need for lower-limb amputation

Radiografia-Man-Feet Investigators at Karunya Rural Community Hospital and at Karunya University in Tamil Nadu have developed a cost-effective method of effectively treating diabetic foot with vacuum therapy, using a locally-developed vacuum suction system and recycled materials.

Diabetic foot is a complication in about 15% of patients with Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and can lead to limb amputation. Diabetic foot is a chronic wound that develops in the foot due to poor circulation and infection or any other complication of DM. Tissues surrounding the wound that have poor circulation do not efficiently transport oxygen or perform other cellular processes. The healing process is impaired by poor circulation and dead tissues.


“The method that we use has an initial cost (£150) and uses fewer materials for dressing daily than other methods. It is easy to use at the extremities and is effective in preventing amputation.”
–J Gnanaraj, M.S., M.Ch .; Danita Gnanaraj, B.E.; Arun Prasad, B.E. Salvaging a diabetic foot: a new cost-effective method. Tropical Doctor, Apr 2012; 42:88-89.


Key Point: Diabetic patients develop chronic wounds in their foot due to poor circulation and infection. Previous low-cost vacuum therapy treatment units had difficulty treating wounds on the extremities while maintaining negative pressure. The treatment method described here, using a local suction unit and recycled 20 L water bottle, is not only cost-effective, but is also effective in improving healing in diabetic patients and ultimately reducing the extent of lower-limb amputation.

Negative pressure therapy (vacuum therapy) was discovered in 1990 at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the USA, demonstrating that negative pressure applied to wounds improved wound-healing in a shorter amount of time. Vacuum therapy improves the circulation of oxygen in tissues, improving wound-healing. Efficient wound healing is essential in minimizing risk of lower-limb amputation due to gangrene and other infections. Low-cost options to treat diabetic foot are needed in local hospitals and treatment centers in India, where DM is prevalent and medical fees are usually paid “out of pocket.”

Previous low-cost vacuum therapy devices were designed in a way that made it difficult to treat limb extremities while keeping a ...

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13 Comments

  1. Waseemuddin Khan
    Posted Feb 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    This is a great success to the Indian Medicine.

  2. Indira Sahajwalla
    Posted Feb 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    It is very impressive article doing treatment with vacuum therapy to save the limb with gagrene

  3. Kiran Doshi
    Posted Feb 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Pl let me know where this machine is available.excellent idea! Dr Kiran doshi

  4. hafiz muhammed
    Posted Feb 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Dr Doshi, There already are several VAC units available now in India ranging in price from Rs 30000/- to 50000/-. manufactured in Bombay, Chennai etc. VAC use is definitely widely accepted now as a good way to aid in wound healing though it has been around for nearly 15 years. It could help in very many situations but do not expect magical remedy!

  5. Hanmanthrao Palep
    Posted Feb 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    In olden days cupping was used for various painful conditions in abdomen. This vaccume treatment appears similar. May be worth while try.

  6. Subhas Pattar
    Posted Jun 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to know how long this suction therapy was able to postpone the amputation of the limb.

    May I also see the picture of the prototype suction machine.

    Thanks Dr Pattar

  7. mdCurrent-India staff
    Posted Jun 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Pattar,

    Photos are available in the original journal article, which is linked at the bottom of this article – or click here: http://td.rsmjournals.com/content/42/2/88.long

    The original article does not say if the patient has ever returned with additional wounds, after the wound had healed.

    • Dr. J. Gnanaraj
      Posted Jan 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      The first patient is still working in a school nearby and did not have any more ulcers and his diabetes is still under good control. Several modifications of the machine have come up during the last 2 years and details could be obtained by e mailing to Mr. Arun Prasad “arun_homeautomation@yahoo.co.in” who helped us design the machines for us

  8. Birendra Sharma
    Posted Feb 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I lot hear about the machine and treatment but could i made this unit from suction machine in our hospital. How much pressure should be given and how long to continue the machine in 24 hrs.

  9. Girijadutt Sharma
    Posted Mar 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Dear sir ,
    Please give the cell no of this product provider.of vacuum pump
    My last request of laparolift supplier is still pending
    Regards
    Gdsharma
    09813063748

  10. samuel seisay
    Posted Jul 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    fantastic

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