Life after lower extremity amputation in diabetics

West Indian Med J. 2011 Oct;60(5):536-40.


Lower limb amputees typically have reduced mobility which affects their ability to perform daily tasks and to successfully reintegrate into community life. A major goal of rehabilitation for amputees is to improve quality of life (QOL). This study therefore focussed on QOL and functional independence for persons with lower limb amputations secondary to diabetes.

Objective: To determine the QOL and functional independence of lower limb diabetic amputees one to three years post amputation, using variables such as age, gender and amputation level.

Method: A total of 87 participants were selected from the 2006-2009 physiotherapy records at the St Ann's Bay Hospital. These participants completed the World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale (WHO QOL-BREF) and the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). Data were analysed using SPSS (version 12) and the mean values for QOL and functional independence were calculated. Relationships between the variables: age, gender and level of amputation with QOL and functional independence were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistical techniques.

Results: Among the 35 males and 52 females participating in the study, below knee amputees recorded higher scores for QOL (p < 0.05) and functional independence (p < 0.0001) compared to the above knee amputees. The result also showed that females had a significantly higher average score than males among the four domains for QOL. Similar results were obtained from the FIM where women again had significantly higher scores than males (p < 0.0001). The majority of females across the age groups reported average to high QOL (p < 0.0001) compared to the males. A positive correlation (r = 0.5999, p < 0.0001) was found between functional independence and quality of life of all participants.

Conclusion: The results showed that below knee amputees functioned better than those with above knee amputations and that females were more likely to cope and function with the disability than males.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amputation, Surgical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Amputees / psychology*
  • Amputees / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jamaica
  • Lower Extremity / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / surgery*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires