Goal: We sought to describe the common demographic and comorbid conditions that affect survival following nontraumatic amputation.
Methods: Veterans Administration hospital discharge records for 1992 were linked with death records. The most proximal level during the first hospitalization in 1992 was used for analysis. Demographic information (age, race) and comorbid diagnosis (cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal disease) were used for Kaplan-Meier curves to describe survival following amputation.
Main outcome measure: Death.
Results: Mortality risk increased with advanced age, more proximal amputation level, and renal and cardiovascular disease, and decreased for African Americans. No increased risk for persons with diabetes was noted in the first year following amputation but the risk increased thereafter. A higher risk of mortality in the first year was noted for renal disease, cardiovascular disease, and proximal amputation level.
Conclusion: Survival following lower-limb amputation is impaired by advancing age, cardiovascular and renal disease, and proximal amputation level. Also, a small survival advantage is seen for African Americans and those with diabetes.