To assess whether the risk of subsequent lower-limb amputations and death following an initial toe amputation among individuals with diabetes has changed over time and varies by demographic characteristics and geographic region.
Using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) electronic medical records from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2016, we determined risk of subsequent ipsilateral minor and major amputation within 1 year after an initial toe/ray amputation among veterans with diabetes. To assess changes in the annual rate of subsequent amputation over time, we estimated age-adjusted incidence of minor and major subsequent ipsilateral amputation for each year, separately for African Americans (AAs) and whites. Geographic variation was assessed across VHA markets (n = 89) using log-linear Poisson regression models adjusting for age and ethnoracial category.
Among 17,786 individuals who had an initial toe amputation, 34% had another amputation on the same limb within 1 year, including 10% who had a major ipsilateral amputation. Median time to subsequent ipsilateral amputation (minor or major) was 36 days. One-year risk of subsequent major amputation decreased over time, but risk of subsequent minor amputation did not. Risk of subsequent major ipsilateral amputation was higher in AAs than whites. After adjusting for age and ethnoracial category, 1-year risk of major subsequent amputation varied fivefold across VHA markets.
Nearly one-third of individuals require reamputation following an initial toe amputation, although risks of subsequent major ipsilateral amputation have decreased over time. Nevertheless, risks remain particularly high for AAs and vary substantially geographically.