Prosthetic rehabilitation for older dysvascular people following a unilateral transfemoral amputation

Jane Cumming, Steve Barr, Tracey Howe

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31 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Dysvascularity accounts for 75% of all lower limb amputations in the UK. Around 37% of these are at transfemoral level (mid-thigh), with the majority of people being over the age of 60 and having existing co-morbidities. A significant number of these amputees will be prescribed a lower limb prosthesis for walking. However, many amputees do not achieve a high level of function following prosthetic rehabilitation. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to identify and summarise the evidence from randomised controlled trials evaluating rehabilitation interventions for prosthetic ambulation following unilateral transfemoral amputation in older dysvascular people, whether community dwelling or institutionalised. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Peripheral Vascular Diseases Group Specialised Register (July 2006), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2006, Issue 3), MEDLINE (1966 to February 2006), EMBASE (1980 to February 2006), CINAHL (1982 to December 2005), AMED (1985 to December 2005), several more specialised databases and reference lists of articles. We also searched the UK National Research Register (Issue 2, 2005) for ongoing trials and contacted experts in the field. No language restrictions were applied. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials testing prosthetic rehabilitation interventions following a unilateral transfemoral or transgenicular amputation in older (aged 60 years or above) dysvascular people. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently scanned the search results for potentially eligible studies and then, on obtaining full reports of these, selected studies for inclusion and exclusion. Two authors independently assessed methodological quality and extracted data. No data pooling was possible. MAIN RESULTS: Of 38 full reports obtained for consideration, one trial was included and four were excluded. The sole included trial was a short-term crossover randomised trial which tested the effects of adding three seemingly identical prosthetic weights (150 g versus 770 g versus 1625 g) to the prostheses of 10 participants with unilateral dysvascular transfemoral amputation. Eight participants were over 60 years of age. The trial found that four participants preferred the lightest weight (150 g), five preferred the middle weight (770 g) and one preferred the addition of the heaviest weight (1625 g). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is a lack of evidence from randomised controlled trials to inform the choice of prosthetic rehabilitation, including the optimum weight of prosthesis, after unilateral transfemoral amputation in older dysvascular people. A programme of research, including randomised controlled trials to examine key interventions, is urgently required in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2006


  • artificial limbs
  • amputation
  • femur
  • leg
  • patient satisfaction


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