There is rather limited recent information on major amputations in Finland. Our objective was to describe the incidence of major lower limb amputations in a defined central hospital, the demographic characteristics of the amputees, diagnosis and situations leading to amputation, level of amputations and survival of the amputees after one year.
A retrospective study was undertaken on 156 patients with 169 lower limb major amputations from 1997 to 2000 at the Seinäjoki Central Hospital and Ahtäri District Hospital.
The annual incidence of major amputations reduced from 29.5 to 15.2/100000 inhabitants. The mean age of the patients was 78.5 years but highest 80.1 in the year 2000. The reason for major amputation was chronic critical leg ischaemia with or without diabetes mellitus in 79.1% and acute ischaemia in 13.9%. The average below-knee (BK)/above-knee (AK) amputation ratio was 0.80 during the years 1997-1999 and the ratio was lowest 0.67 in year 2000. At the same year 2000 the amount of patients, whose condition was too poor for reconstructive surgery, was significantly higher than in 1997-1999.
We suggest that BK/AK amputation ratio is decreasing in the future as the amputees tend more often to be institutionalized and immobile, and reconstruction is not an alternative and BK amputation is impossible or useless.