A recent article in the American Journal of Managed Care highlighted a new study that showed that after a 2-decade decline in non-traumatic lower extremity amputation rates for diabetics in the US, amputation rates are on the rise again.
Leveraging data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of NLEA (nontraumatic lower extremity amputation), the study found that lower limb amputations fell by 43% from 2000- 2009, but then increased by a surprising 50% from 2009 – 2015.
Studying the ages impacted by this increased rate of amputations, they found that the increase was most sharp amongst younger adults and those in middle age. They believe that since this population is less likely to be insured, unlike seniors aged 65 and over, who qualify for Medicare. For example, adults younger than 45, lower limb amputation rates decreased 28% from 2000-2009 (from 2.9 to 2.1 for every 1,000 adults with diabetes), and then dramatically increased by 50%, to 4.2 amputations for every 1,000 diabetic patients in 2015.
Although major amputations increased by 29%, it was minor amputations that drove the majority of the increase in amputation rates, increasing by 62% between 2009 and 2015.
In addition to having a negative impact on the patient’s quality of life, the cost of care increases dramatically in all diabetics with foot complications, including amputations. In fact, the annual direct cost of diabetic foot complications exceed those of the five major cancers.
FYI, data from: