Prognostic models for predicting the risk of foot ulcer or amputation in people with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and external validation study

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Aims/hypothesis: Approximately 25% of people with type 2 diabetes experience a foot ulcer and their risk of amputation is 10–20 times higher than that of people without type 2 diabetes. Prognostic models can aid in targeted monitoring but an overview of their performance is lacking. This study aimed to systematically review prognostic models for the risk of foot ulcer or amputation and quantify their predictive performance in an independent cohort. Methods: A systematic review identified studies developing prognostic models for foot ulcer or amputation over minimal 1 year follow-up applicable to people with type 2 diabetes. After data extraction and risk of bias assessment (both in duplicate), selected models were externally validated in a prospective cohort with a 5 year follow-up in terms of discrimination (C statistics) and calibration (calibration plots). Results: We identified 21 studies with 34 models predicting polyneuropathy, foot ulcer or amputation. Eleven models were validated in 7624 participants, of whom 485 developed an ulcer and 70 underwent amputation. The models for foot ulcer showed C statistics (95% CI) ranging from 0.54 (0.54, 0.54) to 0.81 (0.75, 0.86) and models for amputation showed C statistics (95% CI) ranging from 0.63 (0.55, 0.71) to 0.86 (0.78, 0.94). Most models underestimated the ulcer or amputation risk in the highest risk quintiles. Three models performed well to predict a combined endpoint of amputation and foot ulcer (C statistics >0.75). Conclusions/interpretation: Thirty-four prognostic models for the risk of foot ulcer or amputation were identified. Although the performance of the models varied considerably, three models performed well to predict foot ulcer or amputation and may be applicable to clinical practice. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1550-1562
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Amputation
  • Foot ulcer
  • Performance
  • Prognostic model
  • Systematic review
  • Type 2 diabetes

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