Major lower-extremity amputation: Contemporary experience in a single Veterans Affairs institution

Boulos Toursarkissian, Paula K. Shireman, Amy Harrison, Marcus D'Ayala, John Schoolfield, Mellick T. Sykes

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Abstract

Our objective is to describe our current experience with major lower-extremity amputation secondary to vascular disease. We conducted a retrospective review of sequential amputations over a 3-year period at one Veterans Affairs institution. One hundred thirteen amputations were performed in 99 men (age 70 ± 11 years). Seventy-five per cent were diabetic and 23 per cent were on dialysis. Fifty-six per cent were primary amputations. The final AKA/BKA (above-knee to below-knee amputation) ratio was 3:2 and was not related to prior bypass, ethnicity, or dialysis status (P > 0.5). Forty-three per cent of amputations were BKAs in diabetics versus 26 per cent in nondiabetics (P = 0.08). The in-hospital and 30-day mortality rates were 2.6 and 8 per cent and were not related to amputation level (P = 0.76). Forty per cent experienced postoperative complications that were most frequently wound related (22%). Wound complications were more frequent with BKA than AKA (P = 0.04). At an average follow-up of 10 ± 8 months only 65 per cent were alive. Although 51 per cent were discharged to rehabilitation units only 26 per cent regularly wore a prosthesis with 23 per cent ambulating. BKA patients were more likely to ambulate than AKA (34% vs 9%; P = 0.001), and dialysis patients were less likely to ambulate than nondialysis patients (5% vs 25%; P < 0.02). During follow-up 17 per cent of patients discharged with an intact contralateral limb required amputation of that limb and 7 per cent had bypass surgery on that limb. Complication rates were higher in African Americans and Hispanics than in whites (59%, 45%, and 23%, respectively; P < 0.001), although mortality and ambulation rates were similar. Despite an acceptable perioperative mortality complication rates remain high especially in nonwhites. One-year mortality is high. Low rehabilitation rates especially in dialysis patients mandate further efforts in this regard. Vigilant follow-up of the contralateral limb is essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-610
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Volume68
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this

Toursarkissian, B., Shireman, P. K., Harrison, A., D'Ayala, M., Schoolfield, J., & Sykes, M. T. (2002). Major lower-extremity amputation: Contemporary experience in a single Veterans Affairs institution. American Surgeon, 68(7), 606-610.