Objective. Besides the early detection and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, being aware of the risk factors for major amputation plays a crucial role in preventing the major lower limb amputations. Major lower limb amputations are not just mentally and physically hard for patients, but also have an effect on patient’s survival and are a financial burden on both patients and healthcare systems.

Subjects and Methods. We defined 37 potential risk factors for major amputation and these risk factors were investigated among 507 patients who had ulcers in their feet and were seen by the diabetic foot ulcer council at Ege University Faculty of Medicine. In our study, 106 (20.9%) patients ended up undergoing major lower limb amputation.

Results. The univariate analysis showed that 24 defined risk factors were statistically significant. In the multivariate analysis using the Cox regression model, 6 risk factors remained statistically significant. Multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios were 4.172 for hyperlipidemia, 3.747 for albumin <3.365 g/dL, 3.368 for C-reactive protein (CRP) >2.185 mg/L, 2.067 for presence of gangrenous Wagner stage, 1.931 for smoking tobacco >30 pack/year, and 1.790 for hematocrit (HCT) <31.5%. Most patients with major amputation presented with a neuroischemic foot (58%). Gender and age were not found to be risk factors for major amputation. Having less than 7% of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels had a direct proportion with major amputation numbers. The mortality rates in one year, two and three years after the major amputation operations were 24.6%, 30%, and 35.9%, respectively.

Conclusion. Being familiar with these risk factors for major amputation is crucial for multi-disciplinary teams to take good care of patients with diabetic foot ulcers and to lower the need for major amputations.