It is based on case history of patients referred to hospital for rehabilitation

A study done on reasons for amputation at the Government Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, K.K. Nagar, has found that a majority of patients lose their limbs following a road accident.

Amputation due to complications resulting from diabetes was ranked second. The study, conducted by the institute's postgraduate students, is based on the case history of patients referred to it for rehabilitation.

In four years, beginning 2007, the hospital tracked 369 amputees of which 315 were men and the rest women. The youngest victim was three years old and the oldest, 65. “Western studies have found that complications caused by vascular problems is the major cause of amputation, but in India, more number of people lose their limb due to accidents,” said Institute director R. Chinna Thurai.

While 226 persons were found to be victims of ‘trauma,' 92 persons had lost their limb to complications caused by diabetes. In 2007, the hospital provided rehabilitation to 26 persons for diabetes-induced amputation, as against 31 trauma victims. In 2010, while 38 were treated for diabetes-related complications, 88 amputees had sustained injuries due to traffic accidents.

While five persons were found to have lost their limbs due to congenital causes, 29 patients were victims of infections and burns (electrocution). “Our findings were contrary to our assumption that more patients with diabetes would have lost their limbs over the years,” Dr. Chinna Thurai said.

In 2008 and 2009, the number of patients seeking rehabilitation for diabetes-related complications fell to 17 and 11. In 2010, of 151 persons who required artificial limb, 38 had been amputated for diabetes-related complications. The number of trauma victims requiring prostheses was 88.

The Institute is also treating a handful of patients, who have lost both their limbs. Doctors said that persons who had lost both legs were generally victims of vascular complications resulting from diabetes.

The study, which would be forward to Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University through the Madras Medical College, has made several observations.

“The reason for the fall in the number of diabetes-related amputation is early diagnosis, better management and proper foot care,” the study has observed.

“We compared our studies to those done in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh and found that the results were similar. Road accident victims suffer serious injuries requiring amputation. It is important to know that most of the amputations can be avoided,” he said.

Stricter police patrolling on the highways and stringently implementing road safety measures are necessary, the study has said.

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