Sumary of Peripheral Artery Disease Amputation Rates Higher for Black, Low-Income Patients:
- Nearby access to specialty care for peripheral artery disease (PAD) may not necessarily guarantee that patients get prompt access to the treatment they need to help prevent or delay major lower extremity amputations, according to a study published in August 2021 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
- For the study, researchers looked at Medicare data on 188,995 patients who underwent a total of 222,956 PAD-related major lower extremity amputations between 2010 and 2018. The analysis focused on patients living in 31,391 zip codes across the country where at least 100 of these amputations were done.
- More than 3 in 4 patients who got amputations lived in metropolitan areas, and more than half of the ZIP codes with the highest amputation rates were also in cities, the study found.
- Within cities, each 5 percent increase in the proportion of Black residents was associated with a 6.8 percent increase in amputation rates, the study found.
- “We found that closer proximity to specialized PAD care within metropolitan areas does not ensure access to high quality care,” says lead study author Alexander Fanaroff, MD, an interventional cardiologist and an assistant professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
- Peripheral artery disease develops when the arteries carrying blood from the heart to other parts of the body narrow, typically in the lower extremities, reducing blood flow to the legs and feet.
- Left untreated, patients can start to feel similar pain at rest, develop open wounds on their feet, and eventually require amputations.
- Unequal Access to Care“Limb amputation can be delayed and or prevented by timely and aggressive treatment,” Dr. Fanaroff says.