Background:

One relatively universal functional goal after major lower-limb amputation is ambulation in a prosthesis. This retrospective, observational investigation sought to 1) determine what percentage of patients successfully walked in a prosthesis within 1 year after major limb amputation and 2) assess which patient factors might be associated with ambulation at an urban US tertiary-care hospital.

Methods:

A retrospective medical record review was performed to identify consecutive patients undergoing major lower-limb amputation.

Results:

The overall rate of ambulation in a prosthesis was 29.94% (50.0% of those with unilateral below-the-knee amputation [BKA] and 20.0% of those with unilateral above-the-knee amputation [AKA]). In 24.81% of patients with unilateral BKA or AKA, a secondary surgical procedure of the amputation site was required. In those with unilateral BKA or AKA, statistically significant factors associated with ambulation included male sex (odds ratio [OR] = 2.50) and at least 6 months of outpatient follow-up (OR = 8.10), survival for at least 1 postoperative year (OR = 8.98), ambulatory preamputation (OR = 14.40), returned home after the amputation (OR = 6.12), and healing of the amputation primarily without a secondary surgical procedure (OR = 3.62). Those who had a history of dementia (OR = 0.00), a history of peripheral arterial disease (OR = 0.35), and a preamputation history of ipsilateral limb revascularization (OR = 0.14) were less likely to walk. We also observed that patients with a history of outpatient evaluation by a podiatric physician before major amputation were 2.63 times as likely to undergo BKA as opposed to AKA and were 2.90 times as likely to walk after these procedures.

Conclusions:

These results add to the body of knowledge regarding outcomes after major amputation and could be useful in the education and consent of patients faced with major amputation.

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