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The aim of this study was to determine the outcomes of a contemporary amputation series.


A retrospective audit of 87 cases of major lower limb amputation from January 2000 to December 2002 from the Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Perth Hospital, was conducted.


The mean age of the study population was 70.1 ± 14.3 years; the male: female ratio was 3.35:1. Comorbid problems included diabetes (49.4%), smoking (81.6%), hypertension (77.0%), ischaemic heart disease (58.6%), stroke (25.3%), raised creatinine level (34.5%) and chronic airway limitation (25.3%). Preamputation vascular reconstructive procedures were common, 34.5% in a previous admission and 23.0% in the same admission. The main indication was critical limb ischaemia (75.9%) followed by diabetic infection (17.2%). There were 51 below-knee (58.6%), 5 through-knee (5.7%) and 31 above-knee (35.6%.) amputations. The below-knee amputation to above-knee amputation ratio was 1.65:1. The overall wound infection rate was 26.4%; the infection rates for below-knee (29.4%) and above-knee (22.6%) amputation did not differ significantly (P = 0.58). Revision rates were 17.6% for below-knee, 20% for through-knee and none for above-knee amputations. Twenty patients (23.0%) underwent subsequent contralateral amputation. Thirty-nine patients (44.8%) were selected as suitable for a prosthesis by a rehabilitation physician; 31 (79.5%) used the prosthesis both indoors and outdoors and 6 (15.4%) used it indoors only within 3 months. Cumulative mortality at 30 days, 6 months, 12 months and 24 months was 10.1, 28.7, 43.1 and 51.7%, respectively.


This series agrees with the current published work in finding that patients undergoing major lower limb amputation are older, with a high prevalence of comorbid conditions. Successful prosthesis rehabilitation depends on patient selection and a multidisciplinary approach. Despite a low immediate mortality, the overall long-term results of lower limb amputation remain dismal.

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