Objective: To compare and contrast disability and quality of life (QOL) in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal subjects with diabetes who had lower-extremity amputation (LEA) and were living in urban and rural communities in Canada.
Design: Descriptive study using an interviewer-administered questionnaire and hospital medical record review.
Setting: Tertiary care center.
Participants: Forty-four diabetic subjects (minimum age, 18 y) not receiving dialysis, including 21 Aboriginal (8 urban, 13 rural) and 23 non-Aboriginal (16 urban, 7 rural) subjects. Subjects were living in their current residence and had undergone LEA above the level of the ankle 6 months or more before interview.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Qualitative and quantitative data about symptoms, impairment, and QOL.
Results: Aboriginal subjects were younger than non-Aboriginal subjects at the time of diabetes diagnosis (Aboriginal, 42+/-10 y; non-Aboriginal, 52+/-14 y; P<.005) and first major LEA (Aboriginal, 57+/-7 y; non-Aboriginal, 64+/-11 y; P<.015). All subjects received rehabilitation after amputation. More rural non-Aboriginal subjects (83%) used their prosthesis both in and outside the home for all movements than other subjects (P<.048). Rural non-Aboriginal subjects had the lowest and urban non-Aboriginal subjects had the highest frequency of walking-aid use outside the home. Assistance with personal care was required by a minority of subjects, but assistance with daily housework was required by the majority of subjects. Qualitative analysis revealed that participants were, in most cases, comfortable with their postamputation life.
Conclusions: Although the majority of participants in this study generally felt satisfied with their current status, major functional changes were noted after LEA that had a large negative impact on QOL.