Patients of Asian ethnic origin with diabetes mellitus living in the United Kingdom (UK) have been shown to have a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease and renal disease. Little is known about the incidence of lower extremity amputation in this racial group. The incidence of lower extremity amputation was estimated for patients of Asian ethnic origin and White Caucasians with diabetes mellitus in the county of Leicestershire from 1980 to 1985. The age and sex-adjusted incidence rate of lower extremity amputation for the estimated population of patients with diabetes mellitus in patients of Asian ethnic origin was 3.4 (95% CI, 1.1-10.7) cases per 10,000 patients year-1, compared to 14.2 (12.6-15.9) in White Caucasians. Similarly, a lower incidence rate of lower extremity amputation was recorded in patients of Asian ethnic origin without diabetes mellitus (0.4 (0.2-0.6) vs 1.5 (1.4 to 1.6) cases per 10,000 persons year-1). These findings contrast markedly with the high rates of coronary heart disease and renal disease previously reported in patients of Asian ethnic origin residing in the UK.