Purpose : The purpose of this survey was to examine the characteristic of a
geriatric population admitted for amputation of a lower limb and to explor
e some of the factors that may affect the course of their hospital stay.
Method: The study took place in the geriatric division of a tertiary genera
l hospital and included a close geriatric-orthopaedic liaison. Two-hundred
and forty-one patients were included in the final analysis.
Results : Many above knee amputations were performed, which correlated with
advanced age. Rates of in hospital mortality and systemic complications we
re 16% and 19%, respectively. Thirty-three percent of the patients were dis
charged back home, and only 6% were supplied with an artificial limb. The g
eneral condition of most patients remained poor.
Conclusion : We conclude that despite a team approach to the care of the ge
riatric amputee a poor functional result was obtained. By encouraging earli
er referrals from the community it is postulated that a reduction in the co
stly provision of antibiotics would be beneficial and that perhaps lower le
vels of amputation could be perfromed thereby enhancing the possibilities f