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Diabetologia. 2012 Jul;55(7):1869-72. doi: 10.1007/s00125-012-2588-z. Epub 2012 May 24.

Reducing lower leg amputations in diabetes: a challenge for patients, healthcare providers and the healthcare system.

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Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, CAPHRI and CARIM Research Institutes, Maastricht University Medical Center+, PO Box 5800, 6202 Maastricht, the Netherlands.


Amputation of the lower limb is one of the most feared diabetic complications. It is associated with loss of mobility and a poor quality of life. Amputations result in high economic burden for the healthcare system. The financial cost is also high for patients and their families, particularly in countries that lack a comprehensive health service and/or have a low income. Losing a leg frequently implies financial ruin for a whole family in these countries; therefore, a reduction in diabetes-related amputations is a major global priority. Marked geographical variation in amputation rates has been reported within specific regions of an individual country and between countries. A coordinated healthcare system with a multidisciplinary approach is essential if the number of amputations is to be reduced. This commentary discusses how studies on the variation in amputation rates can help to identify barriers in the access or delivery of care with the aim of reducing the burden of diabetic foot disease.

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