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Mayfield JA, Reiber GE, Maynard C, Czerniecki J, Sangeorzan B. The epidemiology of lower-extremity disease in veterans with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004 May 1; 27 Suppl 2:B39-44.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the epidemiology of lower-extremity complications of diabetes in veterans who are users of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Hospital discharge records for care provided in all VA hospitals in 1998 were obtained. All hospitalizations for lower-extremity ulceration, peripheral vascular procedures, and amputation were analyzed using frequency tables. A diabetes denominator was defined as a veteran with at least three ambulatory care visits with at least one diabetes diagnosis code. Age-specific and total age-adjusted rates of discharge with ulceration, vascular procedures, and amputation were calculated. RESULTS: Veterans with diabetes comprised over half of all hospitalizations for lower-extremity ulceration, one-third of all hospitalizations for peripheral vascular procedures, and two-thirds of all hospitalizations for amputation. The age-specific discharge rate per 1,000 diabetic persons for age 0-64 years, 65-74 years, and 75 years and older for ulceration were 28.4, 31.0, and 37.9; for vascular procedures, the rates were 3.5, 4.4, and 4.4; and for amputation, the rates were 7.3, 9.0, and 10.0, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Veterans with diabetes comprise a significant proportion of hospitalizations for lower-extremity ulceration, peripheral vascular bypass, and amputation. Age-specific rates of diabetic amputation in veterans are lower than U.S. rates.