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Prosthet Orthot Int. 1988 Apr;12(1):9-18.

Lower limb amputations in southern Finland 1984-1985.

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  • 1Invalid Foundation Orthopaedic Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


To assess the current epidemiological situation concerning lower limb amputations in southern Finland the data on all amputations made in the catchment area of the Helsinki University Central Hospital were analysed for the period 1984-85. During the two-year period, 880 amputations of lower limbs were performed on 705 patients. The amputation rate was 32.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1984 and 28.1 in 1985. Patients requiring amputation were arteriosclerotics in 43.1 per cent. and diabetics in 40.7 per cent. Diabetics underwent amputation 3 years younger on average than the arteriosclerotics. The most common site of unilateral amputations was above-knee (42.0 per cent) followed by below-knee (27.7 per cent) and toe amputations (22.2 per cent). The level of amputation tended to become more proximal with increasing age of the patients. The overall mortality figure during three postoperative months was 27.0 per cent. Amputation incidence increased sharply with increasing age. On the base of predictions, the overall age structure of the Finnish population will shift upward causing an increase in the proportion of elderly age groups. A 50% increase in amputation rate is expected in Finland within the next 20-30 years.

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