Background: A 50% reduction of lower extremity amputations during the subsequent 5 year period has been targeted by the St. Vincent-Declaration issued in 1989/90 for a better care of diabetic patients across Europe.
Patients and methods: In two adjacent counties far off major city areas 10 hospitals without specialised diabetes centers in the area provide care to about 300,000 inhabitants. Based on the official operation books and verified by the individual patient file all patients amputated in the 10 hospitals during the years 1990 and 1995 were evaluated retrospectively.
Results: A total of 119 patients (66 males, 53 females, age median 72 years) were amputated in the 10 hospitals 1990, and 162 (89 males, 73 females, age median 74 years) in 1995. The proportion of diabetic amputees amounted to 70.6 and 62.3%, respectively. A trend towards more toe amputations in diabetic versus nondiabetic patients was seen in both surveys which reached significance in 1995 (59 vs. 41%; p < 0.05). Based on the total population and the estimated number of diabetic patients (5% of the population) 1.4 and 2/10,000 nondiabetics were amputated in 1990 and 1995, respectively, in contrast to 61 and 66/10,000 diabetic individuals, indicating a 44 fold and 33 fold excess risk of diabetic patients.
Conclusion: It is concluded that these 2 surveys 5 years apart reveal a failure of reducing lower extremity amputations in people with diabetes--despite the objectives of the St. Vincent-Declaration.