Hospital data shows one in 5 diabetics who had lower limb amputation died within a year

A diabetic patient undergoing dialysis treatment at Kim Keat Dialysis Centre.
A diabetic patient undergoing dialysis treatment at Kim Keat Dialysis Centre. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Tan Tock Seng Hospital researchers have found that one in five people who had amputations on their legs because of diabetes in the past died within a year.

These included diabetics who had minor amputations involving the toes, as well as those who had major surgery which removed the limb up to the knee or entire leg.

On average, these people were 64 years old, said the National Healthcare Group at a press conference on Tuesday (April 26).

More than 400,000 people in Singapore have diabetes, with public hospitals carrying out four diabetes-related amputations a day. In Parliament earlier this month, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong declared that his ministry will be waging war against the chronic disease.

Researchers from the National Healthcare Group Health Services & Outcomes Research unit arrived at the figures after looking back at 10 years of TTSH data involving 2,170 diabetics who had undergone lower limb amputations.

Many of the patients who died within a year following these operations did so because complications had set in.

Poorly controlled diabetes can damage blood vessels and lead to problems such as blindness, heart attacks, and loss of sensation.

About a fifth of diabetics develop foot ulcers which, if not properly cared for, can lead to amputations.