Amputations on the Rise

In the United States, amputations resulting from traumatic injury or cancer declined between 1988 and 1997. However, amputations caused by circulatory problems—which include diabetes-related complications—increased by 27 percent during that period.

Hardest hit were black people with circulatory problems, say researchers, who used data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project to calculate rates.

Of all the reasons given for amputation, circulatory problems were cited in 82 percent of the cases. In all, researchers looked at records of more than 1 million amputations performed in the United States during the period studied.

The increasing risk of amputations because of circulatory problems, especially among elderly and minority populations, warrants further investigation, the researchers advise.

Southern Medical Journal, August 2002

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