Little is known about long-term outcomes among patients who receive percutaneous angioplasty (PTA) for peripheral artery disease (PAD) then undergo below-knee or above-knee amputations. We sought to determine clinical outcomes associated with below-knee or above-knee amputation, along with possible explanatory factors and treatment strategies.
Using data from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database from 1997 to 2010, 7,568 adult patients were divided into three groups: lower extremity preserved (LE), below-knee amputation (BK) and above-knee amputation (AK). We assessed outcomes including major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) and associated risk factors.
Overall MACE was significantly higher in the AK group compared to the LE and BK groups, over a mean follow-up of 2.45 years (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.81; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.50–2.18 for AK vs. LE; HR: 1.67; 95% CI: 1.36–2.06 for AK vs. BK). However MACE were similar for the BK and LE groups (HR: 1.08; 95% CI: 0.98–1.20). Overall mortality was highest in the AK group (HR: 1.65, 95% CI: 1.34–2.04 for AK vs. BK). As for patient characteristics, atrial fibrillation was more prevalent in the AK group than in the BK group (17% vs. 7%). Independent risk factors associated with death after above- or below-knee amputation included advanced age, heart failure, dialysis, male gender and high patient volume.
The MACE rate was highest in the AK group, whereas the LE and BK groups were similar in this regard. Furthermore, overall mortality increased with larger area of amputation.