Lower limb deficient children in the Netherlands: Epidemiological aspects

L. J.M. Rijnders, Annemarijke M. Boonstra*, J. W. Groothoff, M. C. Cornel, W. H. Eisma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Information on the characteristics of children with limb deficiencies and amputations in the Netherlands is largely lacking. The present study aimed to collect data about the prevalence of congenital deficiencies, the ratio of congenital to acquired limb deficiencies, types of lower leg deficiency or amputation and male/female ratios. Data were obtained from a regional birth defects registry for the northern part of the Netherlands (EUROCAT-NNL) and from a national survey. Inclusion criteria for the selection of the EUROCAT data were: children/foetuses with lower leg deficiencies born in 1981-1986. Inclusion criteria for the survey data were: children aged 1-18 years with congenital deficiencies or acquired amputations of the leg, excluding toe deficiencies/amputations. Both the regional birth defects registry and the national survey only yielded small numbers of children, which limits the validity of the authors' findings. The Eurocat data show a prevalence of lower leg deficiencies at birth of 2.07/10,000. Fifty-five (55) children/foetuses were included in the present study. The male/female ratio was 1:1. Of the live-born children, 30% also had defects of the upper limbs, while 38% had bilateral lower limb deficiencies. The national survey included 89 children, of whom 73% had congenital deficiencies, while the others had undergone amputations: of which 37% were due to malignancies, 29% to traumata, 13% to infections and 21% to other pathology. The male/female ratio was 7:3 for the children with congenital deficiencies versus 6:4 for the children with acquired amputations. In the group of congenital deficiencies, fibula deficiency was most frequently seen (36%), while in the group with acquired amputations trans-femoral amputation, knee disarticulation and trans-tibial amputation were seen with equal frequency (21%). In 40% of the children with congenital deficiency and in 8% of the children with acquired amputations the arm was also affected. Both legs were affected in 37% of the children with congenital deficiencies and in 8% of the children with acquired amputations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalProsthetics and Orthotics International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000

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