Functional and mental health status of United Kingdom military amputees post-rehabilitation

Peter Ladlow, Rhodri Phillip, John Etherington, Russell Coppack, James Bilzon, M Polly McGuigan, Alexander N. Bennett

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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the functional and mental health status of severely injured traumatic amputees from the United Kingdom military at the completion of their rehabilitation pathway and to compare these data with the published normative data.DESIGN: Retrospective independent group comparison of descriptive rehabilitation data recorded postrehabilitation.SETTING: A military complex trauma rehabilitation center.PARTICIPANTS: Amputees (N=65; mean age, 29±6y) were evaluated at the completion of their rehabilitation pathway; of these, 54 were operationally (combat) injured (23 unilateral, 23 bilateral, 8 triple) and 11 nonoperationally injured (all unilateral).INTERVENTIONS: Continuous ∼4-week inpatient, physician-led, interdisciplinary rehabilitation followed by ∼4-weeks of patient-led, home-based rehabilitation.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The New Injury Severity Score at the point of injury was used as the baseline reference. The 6-minute walk test, Amputee Mobility Predictor with Prosthesis, Special Interest Group in Amputee Medicine, Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre mobility and activity of daily living scores as well as depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), anxiety (General Anxiety Disorder Scale-7), mental health support, and pain scores were recorded at discharge and compared with the published normative data.RESULTS: The mean New Injury Severity Score was 40±15. After 34±14 months of rehabilitation, amputees achieved a mean 6-minute walk distance of 489±117m compared with age-matched normative distances of 459 to 738m. The 2 unilateral groups walked (544m) significantly further (P>.05) than did the bilateral amputee (445±104m) and triple amputee (387±99m) groups. All groups demonstrated mean functional mobility scores consistent with scores of either active adults or community ambulators with limb loss. In total, 85% could walk/run independently and 95% could walk and perform activities of daily living independently with an aid/adaptation. No significant difference in mental health outcome was reported between the groups (P>.05). At discharge, 98% of patients were able to control their pain.CONCLUSIONS: Severely injured military amputees who completed intensive interdisciplinary rehabilitation achieved levels of physical function comparable with those in age-matched healthy adults. Mental health outcomes were indicative of preparedness for full integration back into society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2048-2054
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number11
Early online date5 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Amputees
  • Mental health
  • Outcome assessment (health care)
  • Physical and rehabilitation medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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