Does Amputation affect life expectancy?

By Zoe Diss

Amputee with legs crossed

Amputation is the surgical removal of a part of the body, such as a leg or arm. It can be a life-changing event, with a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental health, as well as their life expectancy.

Life expectancy after amputation

A study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, which examined more than 1,000 Italian patients between 2012-2015, found a mortality rate of 49% by the end of the follow-up period, which consisted of a minimum of two years. The same study cites:

  • A 65% four-year mortality rate for those undergoing major Lower Extremity Amputations (LEAs); removing large sections of a limb, typically performed above or below the knee.
  • A 45% four-year mortality rate for those undergoing minor LEAs; removing smaller sections of the limb like a toe or section of the foot.

A 2020 Lebanese study examining more than 17,000 patients found similarly alarming mortality rates amongst those with minor amputations and diabetes or peripheral vascular disease:

  • 5% at one month
  • 20% at one year
  • 28% at three years
  • 1% at five years
  • 3% at six to seven years, and
  • 5% at eight to nine years
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How amputation can reduce a person’s life expectancy

There are several ways in which amputation can reduce a person’s life expectancy.

Increased risk of complications: People who have undergone an amputation are at an increased risk of developing complications, such as infection, blood clots, and chronic pain. These complications can lead to further health problems and even death.

Reduced mobility: Amputation can significantly reduce a person’s mobility, making it difficult to perform everyday activities and exercise. This can lead to weight gain, obesity, and other health problems that can reduce life expectancy.

Mental health problems: Amputation can also have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Many people who have undergone an amputation experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These mental health problems can make it difficult to cope with the challenges of amputation and can lead to unhealthy behaviours that can reduce life expectancy.

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors represented Mr Shaw after doctors ignored a blood test which led to necrotising fasciitis and sepsis.

Mr Shaw

How to improve your quality of life after an amputation

There are a few things that people who have undergone an amputation can do to improve their life expectancy and quality of life. These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can help to prevent weight gain and obesity, as well as other health problems that can reduce life expectancy.
  • Exercising regularly: Exercise is important for people with amputations, as it can help to improve their mobility, strength, and balance. It can also help to reduce the risk of developing chronic health problems.
  • Getting regular medical checkups: It is important for people with amputations to get regular medical checkups to monitor their health and identify any potential problems early on.
  • Seeking support from others: Talking to other people who have undergone amputations can be a great way to get support and advice. There are also a number of support groups available for people with amputations and their families.

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Amputation compensation claims with Blackwater Law

If you or a family member has suffered an amputation due to substandard medical care, you may be eligible to make an amputation claim. Blackwater Law is a leading firm with specialist clinical negligence and personal injury solicitors and a proven track record of success in helping people obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.

To find out more about your eligibility for an amputation compensation claim, please contact Blackwater Law today.