Great work from West Virginia’s Sam Minc and coworkers with a little help from us here at USC.
Lower extremity amputation due to peripheral artery disease (PAD) and diabetes (DM) is a life-altering event that identifies disparities in access to healthcare and management of disease. West Virginia (WV), a highly rural state, is an ideal location to study these disparities. The WVU longitudinal health system database was used to identify 1) risk factors for amputation, 2) how disease management affects the risk of amputation, and 3) whether the event of amputation is associated with a change in HbA1c and LDL levels.
Adults (≥18 years) with diagnoses of DM and/or PAD between 2011 and 2016 were analyzed. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed on patients with lab information for both HbA1c and LDL while adjusting for patient factors to examine associations with amputations. In patients who underwent amputation, we compared laboratory values before and after using Wilcoxon signed rank tests.
50,276 patients were evaluated, 369 (7.3/1000) underwent amputation. On multivariable analyses, Male sex and Self-pay insurance had higher odds for amputation. Compared to patients with DM alone, PAD patients had 12.3 times higher odds of amputation, while patients with DM and PAD had 51.8 times higher odds of amputation compared to DM alone. We found significant associations between odds of amputation and HbA1c (OR 1.31,CI = 1.15–1.48), but not LDL. Following amputation, we identified significant decreases in lab values for HbA1c and LDL.
These findings highlight the importance of medical optimization and patient education and suggest that an amputation event may provide an important opportunity for changes in disease management and patient behavior.