Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 47 Number 4, 2010
   Pages 317 — 332

Abstract — Unilateral lower-limb loss: Prosthetic device use and functional outcomes in servicemembers from Vietnam war and OIF/OEF conflicts

Robert Gailey, PhD, PT;1-2 Lynne V. McFarland, PhD;3-4* Rory A. Cooper, PhD;5-6 Joseph Czerniecki, MD;7-8 Jeffrey M. Gambel, MD, MPH, MSW;9-10 Sharon Hubbard, MS;11 Charles Maynard, PhD;3-4 Douglas G . Smith, MD;4,12 Michele Raya, PhD, PT;13 Gayle E. Reiber, MPH, PhD3-4

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Miami Healthcare System, Miami, FL; 2Department of Physical Science, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Coral Gables, FL; 3Health Services Research and Development Service, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA; 4University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 5VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; 6Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Bioengineering, and Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 7Rehabilitation Care Service, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA; 8Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 9Medical Corps, U.S. Army, Washington, DC; 10Armed Forces Amputee Patient Care Program, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC; 11Prosthetics Research Study, Seattle, WA; 12Harborview Medical Center, Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, Seattle, WA; 13Department of Physical Therapy, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Coral Gables, FL

Abstract — Rehabilitation goals following major combat-associated limb loss in World War II and the Vietnam war focused on treatment of the injury and a return to civilian life. The goal for Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) servicemembers is to restore function to the greatest possible degree and, if they desire, return them to Active Duty, by providing them with extensive rehabilitation services and a variety of prosthetic devices. Our study determines the usefulness of these diverse types of prosthetic devices for restoring functional capability and documents prosthesis use and satisfaction. We compare servicemembers and veterans with major combat-associated unilateral lower-limb loss: 178 from the Vietnam war and 172 from OIF/OEF conflicts. Of survey participants with unilateral lower-limb loss, 84% of the Vietnam group and 94% of the OIF/OEF group currently use at least one prosthetic device. Reasons for rejection varied by type of device, but common reasons were pain, prosthesis too heavy, and poor fit. Abandonment is infrequent (11% Vietnam group, 4% OIF/OEF group). Future efforts should aim to improve prosthetic-device design, decrease pain, and improve quality of life for these veterans and servicemembers.

Key words: abandonment, amputation, limb loss, lower-limb loss, OIF/OEF, prostheses, prosthetic device, rehabilitation, satisfaction, Vietnam.

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Last Reviewed or Updated  Tuesday, June 15, 2010 11:11 AM

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