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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Rehabilitation outcome of post-acute lower limb geriatric amputees

Avital Hershkovitz, Israel Dudkiewicz, Shai Brill
Disability and Rehabilitation 2013, 35 (3): 221-7
22686166

PURPOSE: To characterize the lower-limb elderly amputee patients admitted to a post-acute rehabilitation program, assess their 1-year survival rate, estimate rate of prosthetic fit and report rate and factors associated with 1-year post-discharge prosthetic use.

METHODS: A cohort study performed in a post-acute rehabilitation department. Patients were evaluated by the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), motor FIM (mFIM), rate of prosthesis fit, length of stay (LOS), 1-year survival rate and long-term prosthetic use.

RESULTS: One-hundred and seventeen lower limb elderly amputee patients consecutively admitted from January 2004 to June 2010 were enrolled in the study. Mean age was 74.7 ± 8.1; 56 patients (47.9%) had transtibial amputation (TTA); 46 (39.3%) transfemoral amputation (TFA) and 15 (12.8%) bilateral amputation. The main cause for amputation was diabetic foot (60.7%). Fifty-four (46.2%) patients died during first year post-admission. Twenty-seven patients (23.1%) were fitted with a prosthesis. When the bilateral amputees were considered separately, the rate of prosthetic fit among unilateral amputees was 24.5% (25/102) whereas among bilateral amputees it was 20% (3/15). Patients with prosthesis rehabilitation had a higher rate of TTA (p = 0.027), better metabolic status (p < 0.001), higher functional and cognitive levels (p < 0.001), and longer LOS (p < 0.001) compared with patients who received wheelchair rehabilitation. Twenty patients were contacted 1 year later: eight (40.0%) reported continuous functional prosthesis use, eight - partial prosthesis use and four (20%) did not use the prosthesis at all. The patient group with 1-year post-discharge prosthesis use had a significantly higher rate of TTA (p = 0.032), lower rate of congestive heart failure (CHF) (p = 0.014) and higher score changes on the FIM and mFIM (p = 0.043).

CONCLUSIONS: Rehabilitation efforts should best be targeted depending on need. Rehabilitation professionals should make an educated estimate of outcomes at the beginning of rehabilitation based on the characteristics of the patients (level of amputation and functional level on admission).

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