Midterm health and personnel outcomes of recent combat amputees

Mil Med. 2010 Mar;175(3):147-54. doi: 10.7205/milmed-d-09-00120.


Objective: Warfighters who sustained combat amputations in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) have unique challenges during rehabilitation. This study followed their outcomes.

Methods: Subjects were 382 U.S. warfighters with major limb amputations after combat injury in OEF/OIF between 2001 and 2005. Outcome measures were diagnoses, treatment codes, and personnel events captured by health and personnel databases during 24 months postinjury.

Results: Most patients had multiple complications generally within 30 days postinjury (e.g., infections, anemia), with important exceptions (e.g., heterotopic ossification). Lower limb amputees had 50% more complications than upper limb amputees. Two-thirds of patients had a mental health disorder (e.g., adjustment, post-traumatic stress disorder), with rates of major disorder categories between 18% and 25%. Over 80% of patients used physical and occupational therapy, prosthetic/orthotic services, and psychiatric care.

Conclusions: Combat amputees had a complex set of outcomes supporting the continued need for military amputee care programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amputation, Traumatic / complications*
  • Amputees / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hand Injuries / complications*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Leg Injuries / complications*
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • United States