Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 47 Number 4, 2010
   Pages 275 — 298

Abstract — Servicemembers and veterans with major traumatic limb loss from Vietnam war and OIF/OEF conflicts: Survey methods, participants, and summary findings

Gayle E. Reiber, MPH, PhD;1-3* Lynne V. McFarland, PhD;1,4 Sharon Hubbard, MS;5 Charles Maynard, PhD;1 David K. Blough, PhD;6 Jeffrey M. Gambel, MD, MPH, MSW;7 Douglas G . Smith, MD8

1Health Services Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA; Departments of 2Health Services, 3Epidemiology, and 4Medicinal Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 5Prosthetics Research Study, Seattle, WA; 6Department of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 7Armed Forces Amputee Patient Care Program, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC; 8Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle WA; and Department of Orthopedics,
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Abstract???????Care of veterans and servicemembers with major traumatic limb loss from combat theaters is one of the highest priorities of the Department of Veteran Affairs. We achieved a 62% response rate in our Survey for Prosthetic Use from 298 Vietnam war veterans and 283 servicemembers/veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) who sustained major traumatic limb loss. Participants reported their combat injuries; health status; quality of life; and prosthetic device use, function, rejection, and satisfaction. Despite the serious injuries experienced, health status was rated excellent, very good, or good by 70.7% of Vietnam war and 85.5% of OIF/OEF survey participants. However, many health issues persist for Vietnam war and OIF/OEF survey participants (respectively): phantom limb pain (72.2%/76.0%), chronic back pain (36.2%/42.1%), residual-limb pain (48.3%/62.9%), prosthesis-related skin problems (51.0%/58.0%), hearing loss (47.0%/47.0%), traumatic brain injury (3.4%/33.9%), depression (24.5%/24.0%), and posttraumatic stress disorder (37.6%/58.7%). Prosthetic devices are currently used by 78.2% of Vietnam war and 90.5% of OIF/OEF survey participants to improve function and mobility. On average, the annual rate for prosthetic device receipt is 10.7-fold higher for OIF/OEF than for Vietnam war survey participants. Findings from this cross-conflict survey identify many strengths in prosthetic rehabilitation for those with limb loss and several areas for future attention.

Key words: benefits, combat, limb loss, OIF/OEF, prosthetic devices, traumatic amputation, veterans, Vietnam war, wounded servicemembers, wounded warriors.

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Last Reviewed or Updated  Monday, June 14, 2010 12:16 PM

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