Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 46 Number 5, 2009
   Pages 567 — 576

Abstract – Prosthesis and wheelchair use in veterans with lower-limb amputation

Amol M. Karmarkar, PhD;1-2 Diane M. Collins, PhD;1-2* Todd Wichman, MD;3 Allison Franklin, DO;3 Shirley G . Fitzgerald, PhD;4 Brad E. Dicianno, MD;1-2 Paul F. Pasquina, MD;3 Rory A. Cooper, PhD1-2

1Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 3Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC; 4Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, Tampa, FL

Abstract — We determined the demographic, health, functional, and satisfaction factors related to lower-limb prosthesis or wheelchair use among veterans with lower-limb amputation. Forty-two veterans were recruited from the 20th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic and the 26th National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Participants were at least 18 years of age, had a lower-limb amputation, and were either prosthesis or wheelchair users. Level of amputation was the most significant health-related characteristic determining the veterans' use of a prosthesis versus a wheelchair (p = 0.02). Veterans who had a higher level of amputation and used a prosthesis reported significantly greater difficulty navigating a ramp (p = 0.03), getting in and out of cars and buses (p = 0.03), carrying 10 lb of groceries (p = 0.02), and participating in sports and leisure activities (p = 0.03). The parameter "satisfaction related to prosthesis" did not determine selection of mobility device type. The interaction of demographics, health-related characteristics, and mobility device characteristics affects functional performance and influences the use of prostheses, wheelchairs, or both in persons with lower-limb amputation. Long-term outcome assessments may help determine factors associated with either transition from one device to another or combined use of the devices over time.

Key words: function, health characteristics, lower-limb amputation, mobility device, outcome, prostheses, rehabilitation, satisfaction, veterans, wheelchairs.

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