There’s good news for people with advanced kidney disease. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that leg amputation in people on dialysis for end-stage kidney disease who are on dialysis — has dropped by more than 50% between 2000 and 2014.
Amputation is not only common among dialysis patients, it often signals a yet worse outcome: nearly half of dialysis patients who receive leg amputations die within the year.
Why does kidney disease lead to amputation? Kidney disease involves a greater risk of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), in which circulation to the legs is compromised. Compromised circulation is also associated with diabetes, and, in fact, diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease. Moreover, people with both diabetes and kidney disease are five times as likely to require amputation than patients with kidney disease alone. High blood pressure is also associated with PAD, and also contributes to the risk of amputation.
While the study does not address why amputation rates are falling, researcher Dr. Tara Chang suggests that better management of the multiple health conditions associated with kidney disease may well be the cause. “It may be related to better blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol management, more frequent foot checks, or other interventions.”
Dialysis patients are a vulnerable population, and it is therefore important to ensure that they receive the best care possible to afford them better, longer lives.
At Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, a government-approved PACE program, we also work to improve the lives of people suffering with serious illness. We do so by enabling them, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers to meet their health care needs while continuing to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home stay home, where they want to be.