Characterization of amputees at a large hospital in Recife, PE, Brazil

Abstract Background Limb amputation can be defined as a procedure that consists of separating a limb or a segment of a limb from the body. Objectives To describe the profile of limb amputation procedures performed at a large hospital run by the state of Pernambuco (Brazil). Methods Cross-sectional descriptive and retrospective study conducted at a large hospital in the city of Recife, PE. Data were collected from the records of patients who underwent amputations during 2017. Records from patients who had had a limb amputation during 2017 were included, unless data were illegible or missing. Results A total of 328 procedures were performed on 274 patients, the majority of whom were male (57.7%). There was a predominance of lower limb amputations (64.2%), of non-traumatic causes (86.5%), and urgent treatment (96.4%). The majority of patients who underwent amputations remained in hospital for 11 to 25 days (32.1%). The study found that the majority of amputees were discharged (69.7%), although a proportion died. Deaths of lower limb amputees were primarily among elderly women in the age range of 60 to 90 years (76%), females (55%), and patients subjected to a single amputation (91%). Conclusions The data observed in this study are alarming, particularly considering that many of these amputations could have been avoided, since they were caused by complications of diseases that can be prevented and controlled at healthcare services of a lower level of complexity and at a relatively low cost.