Mobility in Elderly People With a Lower Limb Amputation: A Systematic Review Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Elderly people with a lower limb amputation impose a heavy burden on health resources, requiring extensive rehabilitation and long term care. Mobility is key to regaining independence; however, the impact of multiple comorbidities in this patient group can make regaining mobility a particularly challenging task. An evidence-based prognosis for mobility is needed for rehabilitation and long term care planning. This systematic review summarizes the prosthetic and nonprosthetic mobility outcomes achieved by elderly people with a lower limb amputation, to determine whether an accurate prognosis for mobility can be made. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL were searched for studies published before May 2010 in English, German, Dutch, or French, using keywords and synonyms for elderly, mobility, rehabilitation, and amputation. Mobility focused on actual movement (moving from one place to another) and was limited to long-term measurements, 6 months after amputation or 3 months after discharge from rehabilitation. The 15 included studies featured a diversity of objective outcome measures and mobility grades that proved difficult to compare meaningfully. In general, studies that included selected populations of prosthetic walkers showed that advanced prosthetic mobility skills can be achieved by the elderly person with a lower limb amputation, including outdoor/community walking. Studies that included all subjects undergoing a lower limb amputation reported that less than half of the elderly population achieved a household level of prosthetic mobility. The predominant findings from the included studies were incomplete reporting of study populations and poor reporting of the reliability of the mobility measures used. The strength of conclusions from this review was therefore limited and the prognosis for mobility in elderly people after lower limb amputation remains unclear. Further research into mobility outcomes of this population is needed to provide evidence that enables more informed choices in rehabilitation and long term care.

publication date

  • May 2012