The Majority of Patients Have Diagnostic Evaluation Prior to Major Lower Extremity Amputation

Published:February 04, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2018.10.038

      Background

      Critical limb ischemia (CLI) patients who do not undergo revascularization are at great risk for major lower extremity (LE) amputation. It has been reported that less than half (49%) of a reference Medicare amputation population had any diagnostic vascular evaluation prior to a major LE amputation. We were surprised by these data so we reviewed the preoperative evaluation in all patients who had a major LE amputation. We propose that significantly more patients will have a vascular evaluation prior to major LE amputation at a tertiary care referral center when a vascular surgeon does the amputation.

      Methods

      A retrospective analysis of major LE amputations was performed. Patient demographics, comorbidities, type of amputation, reason for amputation, Rutherford classification, and type of preoperative vascular examination were evaluated.

      Results

      Over 4 years, 281 patients required major LE amputation. Above-knee amputation was performed in 39.1% of patients, whereas below-knee amputation was performed in 60.9%. Amputation was performed due to CLI in 92.9% of patients, whereas 7.1% of amputations were performed due to diabetes or other reasons. Preoperative vascular evaluation was performed in 100% of patients undergoing major LE amputation. Vascular surgeon pulse examination was most common (99.3%) followed by pulse volume recordings/ankle–brachial index (78.8%), angiography (54.8%), computed tomography angiography (29.3%), duplex ultrasonography (41.3%), and magnetic resonance angiography (0.4%). Amputations most commonly occurred due to Rutherford classification VI (63.3%) with 97.2% of patients having Rutherford IV–VI classification.

      Conclusions

      Preoperative vascular evaluation prior to major LE amputation is achievable in the majority of patients, reported here in 100% of patients undergoing a major LE amputation. This allows us to evaluate the patient for revascularization options prior to amputation for possible limb salvage.
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