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

Chloé Ml Peters*, Jolanda De Vries, Eelco J Veen, Hans Gw De Groot, Gwan H Ho, Paul Lodder, Stijn L Steunenberg, Lijckle Van Der Laan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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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).

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1185
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • amputation
  • critical limb ischemia
  • frail elderly
  • health status
  • quality of life


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