Background: Diabetes-related foot infections cause substantial morbidity and mortality, both globally and in Australia. There is a need for up-to-date evidence-based guidelines to ensure optimal management of patients with diabetes-related foot infections. We aimed to identify and adapt high quality international guidelines to the Australian context to become the new Australian evidence-based guideline for people with a diabetes-related foot infection.
Methods: Following Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) procedures we identified the 2019 International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot (IWGDF) guidelines as suitable for adaptation to the Australian context. Guidelines were screened, assessed and judged by an expert panel for the Australian context using the guideline adaptation frameworks ADAPTE and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). Judgements led to recommendations being adopted, adapted or excluded, with additional consideration regarding their implementation, monitoring and future research for the Australian context. Clinical pathways were then developed to assist implementation.
Results: Of 36 original diabetes-related foot infection IWGDF sub-recommendations, 31 were adopted, four were adapted and one was excluded. Adaption was primarily undertaken due to differences or clarification of the sub-recommendations’ intended population. One sub-recommendation was excluded due to substantial differences in judgements between the panel and IWGDF and unacceptable heterogeneity of the target population. Therefore, we developed 35 evidence-based sub-recommendations for the Australian context that should guide best practice diagnosis and management of people with diabetes-related foot infection in Australia. Additionally, we incorporated these sub-recommendations into two clinical pathways to assist Australian health professionals to implement these evidence-based sub-recommendations into clinical practice. The six guidelines and the full protocol can be found at: https://www.diabetesfeetaustralia.org/new-guidelines/.
Conclusions: A new national guideline for the diagnosis and management of people with diabetes-related foot infections were successfully developed for the Australian context. In combination with simplified clinical pathway tools they provide an evidence-based framework to ensure best management of individuals with diabetes-related foot infections across Australia and highlight considerations for implementation and monitoring.