Glycaemic indices and haemoglobin A1c as predictors for non-healing ulcers

Kevin J. Moore, Erin C. Dunn, Erin N. Marcus, Tulay Koru-Sengul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Non-healing lower extremity ulcers (NHLU) are a common podiatric complication of diabetes, with poor glycaemic control as a risk factor for development. Glycaemic indices, such as haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and fasting plasma glucose (FPG), are used to diagnose and to monitor diabetes. Using a population-based, nationally representative sample, we evaluate the relationship between glycaemic indices and NHLU (as defined by the patient) to propose glycaemic thresholds for clinical suspicion of patient NHLU status. Method: Using data from the 19992004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), a total of 9769 adults (≤40 years old) with available self-reported diabetes and NHLU status were analysed. Glycaemic index markers, including FPG and HbA1c, were assessed via laboratory analysis from serum blood samples. Logistic regression models were fitted to determine optimal thresholds for FPG and HbA1c to predict NHLU status. Results: Compared with those without NHLU, NHLU patients were older, male, had higher rates of diabetes, were more likely to take insulin, and had lower total cholesterol. Youdens Index for NHLU identified the optimal FPG threshold as 117.7mg/dl (sensitivity: 33.5%; specificity: 82.6%). The optimal HbA1c threshold was 5.9% (sensitivity: 43.2%; specificity: 77.3%). HbA1c (Odds ratio (OR) 2.44, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.963.05; Area under curve (AUC) 0.62) was a stronger discriminator of NHLU compared to FPG (OR 2.19; 95%CI 1.573.05; AUC 0.60). Conclusion: This study identified glycaemic thresholds for suspicion of NHLU development that are lower than the glucose goal levels recommended as optimal by the American Diabetes Association. Health professionals should be aware of these glycaemic indices when screening patients with diabetes for NHLU. Future longitudinal and validation studies are necessary to better discern the ideal glycaemic index thresholds to identify NHLU. Declaration of interest: The authors have no declarations of interest with regards to the manuscript.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S6-S11
JournalJournal of Wound Care
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fundamentals and skills
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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