Comprehensive work from Meshkin and coworkers from Georgetown evaluating 36,037 people undergoing major amputation
Chronic wounds that lead to major lower extremity amputation have immense consequences on quality of life, and ultimately, mortality. However, mortality rates after lower extremity amputation for a chronic wound are broad within the literature and have escaped precise definition. This systematic review aims to quantify long-term mortality rates after major lower extremity amputation in the chronic wound population available in the existing literature. Ovid MEDLINE was searched for publications which provided mortality data after major, nontraumatic, primary lower extremity amputations. Lower extremity amputations were defined as below and above the knee amputation. Data from included studies was analyzed to obtain pooled 1-, 2-, 3-, 5- and 10-year mortality rates. Sixty-one studies satisfied inclusion criteria representing 36,037 patients who underwent nontraumatic major lower extremity amputation. Pooled mortality rates were 33.7%, 51.5%, 53%, 64.4%, and 80% at 1-, 2-, 3-, 5- and 10-year follow-up, respectively. Within the 8,184 diabetic patients (types 1 and 2), 1- and 5-year mortality was 27.3% and 63.2%. Sources of mortality data were varied and included electronic medical records, national health and insurance registries, and government databases. Mortality after nontraumatic major lower extremity amputation is high, both in patients with diabetes as well as those without. Methods used to measure and report mortality are inconsistent, lack reliability, and may underestimate true mortality rates. These findings illustrate the need for a paradigm shift in wound management and improved outcomes reporting. A focus on amputation prevention and care within a multidisciplinary team is critical for recalcitrant ulcers.