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.