On average, 507 people lose a limb every day in the United States, and this number is expected to almost double by 2050 unless a major public awareness campaign is launched and key prevention initiatives are adopted, according to a white paper released by the Limb Loss Task Force of the Amputee Coalition, Knoxville, Tenn.

The Task Force is comprised of experts in limb loss–physicians, podiatrists, nurses, physical therapists, prosthetists, health behavior experts, and researchers from the private and public sectors, the military, and the federal government.

The Task Force developed a Four Point Action Plan that is outlined in the white paper.

 “Roadmap for Limb Loss Prevention and Amputee Care Improvement” Four Point Action Plan:
• Implement a Blueprint for Limb Loss Prevention.
• Host a Consensus Conference to define national optimal care guidelines for amputees.
• Develop a national research agenda on limb loss prevention and amputation care.
• Create a model for amputee rehabilitation/community reintegration and early limb loss. prevention to be implemented in hospitals and clinics around the country.

The Task Force highlighted the facts and figures that demonstrate the urgent demand for a strategic approach to limb loss prevention and improved amputee care.
• 185,000 amputations occur each year.
• 60% of all amputations are preventable.
• The main causes of limb loss are dysvascular disease (54%), trauma (5%,) and cancers (less than 2%).
• Diabetes and vascular disease are the leading causes of limb loss and major drivers of increased limb loss incidence in the United States.
• Health care costs for people with lower limb amputations alone account for more than $6.5 billion each year.
• 75% of acquired pediatric amputations are from trauma–most notable is that, on average, 600 children lose a limb due to a lawnmower accident each year.
• Significant health disparities exist as African Americans are four times more likely to experience lower limb amputations than non-Hispanic white people of similar age and gender.
• Amputee care is often fragmented and preventive care is insufficient.
• Access to rehabilitation and prosthetic care is not consistent throughout the United States.

The Limb Loss Task Force was convened through funding for the National Limb Loss Information Center from the Centers for Disease Control partially supported by cooperative agreement from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

Click here for a copy of the white paper.

The Amputee Coalition is the national nonprofit organization serving more than 2 million people with limb loss and more than 28 million

[Source: Amputee Coalition]