Study finds microvascular disease linked to higher risk of leg amputation

Disease of the small arteries, including retinopathy, is connected with a 3.7 times greater risk of lower limb amputation

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US researchers have published a study highlighting the link between microvascular disease and an increased risk of lower limb amputation, including retinopathy.

The study, which was published in Circulation, examined the incidence of amputation among a population of 125,674 veterans over an average follow up period of 9.3 years.  

The scientists found that those with microvascular disease had a 3.7 times greater risk of amputation compared to those without the condition.

Those with peripheral artery disease had an even greater risk of amputation; 13.9 times that of study participants without microvascular disease or peripheral artery disease.

Participants within the study group who had both microvascular disease and peripheral artery disease had a 22.7-fold increased risk of amputation compared to those without either condition.

Dr Joshua Beckman, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, highlighted that the study reinforces the concept that microvascular disease is a system-wide disorder rather than only affecting one part of the body.

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