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Is amputation in the elderly patient with critical limb ischemia acceptable in the long term?

Authors Peters CML, de Vries J, Veen EJ, de Groot HGW, Ho GH, Lodder P, Steunenberg SL, van der Laan L

Received 22 February 2019

Accepted for publication 5 June 2019

Published 2 July 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 1177—1185

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S206446

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Bik-Wai Bilvick Tai

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker


Chloé ML Peters,1 Jolanda de Vries,2,3 Eelco J Veen,1 Hans GW de Groot,1 Gwan H Ho,1 Paul Lodder,2,4 Stijn L Steunenberg,1 Lijckle van der Laan1

1Department of Surgery, Amphia Hospital, Breda, The Netherlands; 2Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands; 3Department of Medical Psychology, Elisabeth-Tweesteden Hospital (ETZ), Tilburg, The Netherlands; 4Department of Methodology and Statistics, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Purpose: Despite high amputation rates, data on patient-reported outcomes is scarce in the elderly population with critical limb ischemia. The aim of this study was to provide mortality rates and long-term changes of the following patient-reported outcomes in elderly critical limb ischemia amputees: quality of life (QoL), health status (HS), and symptoms of depression.
Patients and methods: In this prospective observational cohort study, amputated critical limb ischemia patients ≥70 years were included. The follow-up period was two years. Within the follow-up period patients completed the following questionnaires: the World Health Organization Quality Of Life -abbreviated version of the WHOQOL 100 (WHOQOL-BREF), the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale.
Results : A total of 49 elderly patients with critical limb ischemia had undergone major limb amputation within two years after inclusion. In these patients, the one-year mortality rate was 39% and the two-year mortality rate was 55%. The physical QoL was the only domain of the WHOQOL-BREF that improved significantly across time after amputation (p≤0.001). In the long-term, there was no difference in the ability to enjoy life (p=0.380) or the satisfaction in performing daily living activities (p=0.231) compared to the scores of the general elderly population. After amputation, the physical HS domain (p≤0.001) and the mental HS domain (p=0.002) improved. In the first year, amputees experienced less symptoms of depression (p=0.004).
Conclusion: Elderly critical limb ischemia amputees are a fragile population with high mortality rates. Their QoL and HS increased after major limb amputation as compared to the baseline situation and they experienced less symptoms of depression. Moreover, our results show that, in the long-term, major limb amputation in the elderly patients with critical limb ischemia shows an acceptable QoL, which, in some aspects, is comparable to the QoL of their peers. These results can improve the shared-decision making process that does not delay the timing of major limb amputation.

Keywords: amputation, critical limb ischemia, frail elderly, health status, quality of life


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