RR's Patient Story

An "Incurable" Diabetic Foot Ulcer is Healed

RR, a patient in his 60s, had become virtually bed-bound due to a diabetic foot ulcer that encompassed most of his foot and that other doctors had told him was certain to require amputation. He was also on dialysis, and had presented to our medical intensive care unit with heart failure and fluid around his heart. After a thorough evaluation by our multidisciplinary team, his heart failure was found to be a systemic complication of his foot ulcer. Subsequently, through analysis of tissue samples, he was also discovered to have dead bone in the base of his foot, even though MRI scans had previously shown only living bone.

Through a series of minor procedures, most of them done on an outpatient basis, we were able to inject growth factors as well as fibroblasts and keratinocytes (types of human skin cells), which over time stimulated tissue to grow over the bone. Using the personalized medicine approach championed by Dr. Paul Schoch, director of Winthrop’s clinical microbiology lab, and Dr. Virginia Donovan, head of Winthrop’s Pathology Department, we determined which portions of bone were dead and targeted our therapy to this area. A skin graft was also administered to RR by Dr. Thomas Davenport.

This regenerative medicine approach was supplemented by superb care from Dr. Tom Rostowski, director of the podiatry residency at Winthrop, as well as from RR’s cardiologist, renal doctors and, most importantly, from Winthrop’s infectious disease team led by Dr. Burke Cunha and Dr. Natalie Klein. Today, RR is back home, walking normally with a healed wound.


 

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