Lower Limb Amputation at the 34 Military Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone: Causes and Indications.
In low-income countries like Sierra Leone, lack of access to adequate health care, poverty and social stigma attached to “amputation” all prevent people from seeking early medical treatment for diabetic foot.
The purpose of this study was to document the causes and indications of lower limb amputations and to make appropriate recommendations to the health sector of Sierra Leone.
This retrospective study was conducted at 34 Military Hospital, one of the major referral hospitals in Freetown, between January 2011 and December 2014. A team of medical staff was trained to extract data. The operating theatre and ward case records were searched for information (age, gender, cause and indication for amputation) of all the patients who underwent amputation during this period. The findings were statistically documented in tables.
Twenty-seven patients (24 males and 3 females) were involved in the study. The age distribution was 15-65 years (Mean 43). Majority (77.7%) of the patients presented with gangrenous and infected diabetic feet, 18.5 % was due to Road Traffic Accident and 3.8% due to complication of HIV infection. The commonest level was transtibial amputation 85% and 67% was right sided. Hospital stay was 20-50 days (average 35). There was no postoperative mortality.
As most amputations were done for diabetic feet, there is need for diabetes sensitization and prevention campaigns for the general public and improvement of diabetic care for individual patients including proper glycemic control and risk factors prevention. Increased funding is required by the health sector of Sierra Leone to implement these measures. Prevention of road traffic accidents by training/educating the drivers should also be considered by Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority.
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