Ankle brachial indices and anaerobes: is peripheral arterial disease associated with anaerobic bacteria in diabetic foot ulcers?

Lower extremity amputations from diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are rebounding, and new biomarkers that predict wound healing are urgently needed. Anaerobic bacteria have been associated with persistent ulcers and may be a promising biomarker beyond currently recommended vascular assessments. It is unknown whether anaerobic markers are simply a downstream outcome of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and ischemia, however. In this study from HIP Investigator Dr. Meghan Brennan, associations between two measures of anaerobic bacteria-abundance and metabolic activity-and PAD are evaluated. 

A prospective cohort of 37 patients with baseline ankle brachial index (ABI) results was built, and they found that neither anaerobic abundance nor metabolic activity was strongly associated with the three definitions of PAD. Therefore, anaerobic bacteria may offer additional prognostic value when assessing wound healing potential and should be investigated as potential molecular biomarkers for DFU outcomes. 

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