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Incidence of lower limb amputation in Canada

Bita Imam, William C. Miller, Heather C. Finlayson, Janice J. Eng, Tal Jarus


OBJECTIVES: To determine the Canadian age-adjusted incidence rates of lower limb amputation (LLA) by province, sex, level, and cause of amputation.

METHODS: Data on all hospital discharges associated with LLA from April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2012, were obtained from the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s Discharge Abstract Database. National and provincial age-adjusted rates were calculated per 100 000 individuals by sex, level, and cause of LLA using the direct method of standardization. The relative risk of LLA in people with diabetes was calculated.

RESULTS: There were a total of 44 430 LLAs performed in Canada over the study years. The number of LLAs increased from 7331 in 2006 to 7708 in 2011. Mean (SD) age was 65.7 (16.6) years, and 68.8% were males. Sixty-five percent of the LLA cases were due to diabetes. The average age-adjusted rate of LLA in Canada was 22.9 per 100 000 individuals. The age-adjusted rates declined over the study years. The relative risk of diabetes-related LLAs was 28.9.

CONCLUSION: This study provided the first Canadian national and provincial age-adjusted incidence rates of LLA and a baseline for monitoring and evaluation in the future. Understanding the incidence of LLA is essential to managing preventive and rehabilitation services for this population. Although the age-adjusted LLA incidence rates have decreased, the number of new LLAs has increased. The increase in the number of LLAs has important implications for social and health care costs.


Incidence; epidemiology; amputation; diabetes; Canada

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