01.12.2005 | Original Article | Ausgabe 10/2005
Why were limbs amputated? An evaluation of 216 surgical specimens from Chiang Mai University Hospital, Thailand
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
- Jongkolnee Settakorn, Samreung Rangdaeng, Olarn Arpornchayanon, Suree Lekawanvijit, Lertlakana Bhoopat, John Attia
Introduction: Limb loss has a devastating effect on patients. To know the underlying causes of limb amputation would be helpful in planning public health strategies in the country. The objectives of this study are (1) to identify the primary causes and the feature of limb amputations in the setting of a university hospital, and (2) to study the time trends of the causes of limb amputation over a period of 5 years. Materials and methods: The clinical and pathological data from 216 amputated limbs submitted to the Pathology Department of Chiang Mai University Hospital from 2000 to 2004 were reviewed. Results: Of these, 188 cases were first time amputations, and 28 cases were repeat amputations. The 188 first amputated specimens included 23 upper limbs (12%) and 165 lower limbs (88%), from 115 male (61%) and 73 female (39%) patients. Dysvascular (46%), tumor-related (36%), and infection-related (10%) amputations were the three most common scenarios. The rate of amputation was high in 2004 (32%) owing to an unexpected increase in the numbers of dysvascular amputation. Atherosclerosis accounted for at least 52% of dysvascular amputations. The leading cause of tumor-related amputations was sarcoma (72%), almost half of which were osteosarcomas. The major cause of lower limb amputation was dysvascular (51%) whereas that of upper limb amputation was tumor related (61%). Subgroup analysis of the major limb amputations revealed that 44% were tumor related, 39% were dysvascular, and 8% were infection-related causes. The proportion of major limb losses in the tumor-related group (87%, 59/68) was significantly higher than those in the dysvascular group (62%, 53/86) (P=0.001). In addition, the proportion of upper limb losses in the tumor-related group (21%, 14/68) was significantly greater than those in the dysvascular group (2%, 2/86), (P<0.001). The causes of 28 repeat amputations were similar, i.e., dysvascular (61%), tumor related (29%), and infectious related (7%). Conclusion: (1) Atherosclerosis, a potentially preventable disease is responsible for the great proportion of limb losses in Northern Thailand; (2) the numbers of dysvascular amputation seem to be increasing; (3) tumor, especially sarcoma, is the most common cause of major limb amputations as well as upper limb loss.