Grade 2 disability among leprosy patients: A pilot study from an endemic area of Central India.
Background and Aim: Deformities and disabilities in leprosy lead to significant morbidity to the individual and financial burden to the family. As the prevalence of leprosy is higher in central India, this study was conducted to know the burden of deformity and disability among leprosy patients in central India and the factors associated with it.
Materials and methods: This was a hospital-based, cross-sectional study, conducted on 50 new or on treatment or released from treatment leprosy patients, attending the Dermatology OPD of a tertiary care institute in Central India. Disability was graded as per the WHO criteria for disability grading of hands and feet.
Results: Grade 2 disability was found among 32% of the patients with leprosy, whereas a total of 60% of our patients had either grade 1 or grade 2 disabilities. Trophic ulcer was found among 20% and claw hand among 14% of leprosy patients. We found significant associations of lepromatous leprosy with trophic ulcer (p = 0.004) and grade 2 disability (p = 0.012). All patients with claw hands and 80% of the patients with trophic ulcers presented to the healthcare facility at least 6 months after the onset of symptoms.
Conclusions: We found very high rates of disability and deformity among leprosy patients indicating possible huge burden of morbidity among leprosy patients in central India. The significant association of lepromatous leprosy with trophic ulcer and grade 2 disability indicated delayed presentation and diagnosis of lepromatous leprosy patients. Our results underlined the need for large scale community-based studies on disability and deformity among leprosy patients in Central India. These results also call for better training of primary level healthcare workers for early detection and management of deformities and disabilities as well as better patient education for leprosy patients regarding hand and foot care.