To identify the age-adjusted and level-specific incidence of amputations associated with diabetes in Hispanics, African-Americans, and non-Hispanic whites.


We used a database from the Office of Statewide Planning and Development in California that identified all hospitalizations for lower-extremity amputations in the state in 1991. Amputation level was defined by ICD-9-CM codes 84.11–84.18 and were categorized as toe, foot, leg, and thigh amputations.


The age-adjusted incidence of diabetes-related amputation per 10,000 persons with diabetes in 1991 was 95.25 in African-Americans, 55.98 in non-Hispanic whites, and 44.43 in Hispanics. Hispanics had a higher proportion of amputations (82.7%) associated with diabetes than did African-Americans (61.6%) or non-Hispanic whites (56.8%) (P < 0.001). African-Americans had the highest age-adjusted incidence rate for each level in people with and without diabetes. African-Americans underwent more proximal amputations compared with non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics (P < 0.001). Diabetes-related amputations were 1.72 and 2.17 times more likely in African-Americans compared with non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics, respectively.


Hispanics had proportionally more amputations associated with diabetes than did African-Americans or non-Hispanic whites. A significant excess incidence of both diabetes- and non-diabetes-related amputations and proportionally more proximal amputations were identified in African-Americans compared with Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites. A possible explanation could be the higher prevalence of peripheral vascular disease in African-Americans. Public health initiatives, which have been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations, should be implemented, and additional work should focus on minority groups.

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