In the largest analysis of its kind, Duke University Medical Center researchers have found that patients with diabetes who require surgery for ankle fractures have significantly higher rates of complications and higher hospital costs compared to non-diabetic patients. Specifically, the researchers found that diabetics experienced one additional day of hospitalization (an average of 4.7 vs. 3.6 days) with costs approximately 20 percent higher ($12,898 vs. $10,794). Additionally, diabetics had higher mortality rates (0.26 percent vs. 0.11 percent) and higher rates of post-operative complications (4.63 percent vs. 3.27 percent).
Demonstrating this link between diabetes and worse outcomes is important, the researchers said, because ankle fractures are one of the most common injuries treated by orthopedic surgeons, and the study’s findings provide guidance on how to improve the care for these patients and reduce health care expenditures.
The results of the Duke analysis were published Aug. 15, 2005, in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
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