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Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2012 May;14(5):543-7. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivr075. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Very low survival rates after non-traumatic lower limb amputation in a consecutive series: what to do?

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Department of Physical Therapy, Hvidovre University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate factors potentially influencing short- and long-term mortality in patients who had a non-traumatic lower limb amputation in a university hospital. A consecutive series of 93 amputations (16% toe/foot, 33% trans-tibial, 9% through knee and 42% trans-femoral) were studied. Their mean age was 75.8 years; 21 (23%) were admitted from a nursing home and 87 (92%) were amputated due to a vascular disease and/or diabetes. Thirty days and 1-year mortality were 30 and 54%, respectively. Cox regression analysis demonstrated that the 30-day mortality was associated with older age (P = 0.01), and the number of co-morbidities (P = 0.04), when adjusted for gender, previous amputations, cause of and amputation level, and residential status. Thus, a patient with 4 or 5 co-morbidities (n = 20) was seven times more likely to die within 30 days, compared with a patient with 1 co-morbidity (n = 16). Further, the risk of not surviving increased with 7% per each additional year the patient got older. Of concern, almost one-third of patients died within 1 month. This may be unavoidable, but a multidisciplinary, optimized, multimodal pre- and postoperative programme should be instituted, trying to improve the outcome.

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