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, 10 (10), CD005260

Prosthetic Rehabilitation for Older Dysvascular People Following a Unilateral Transfemoral Amputation


Prosthetic Rehabilitation for Older Dysvascular People Following a Unilateral Transfemoral Amputation

Steven Barr et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.


Background: Dysvascularity accounts for 75% of all lower limb amputations in the UK. Around 37% of these procedures are done at the transfemoral level (mid-thigh), with most patients over the age of 60 and having existing comorbidities. A significant number of these amputees are prescribed a lower limb prosthesis for walking. However, many amputees do not achieve a high level of function following prosthetic rehabilitation. This is the third update of the review first published in 2005.

Objectives: To identify and summarise the evidence evaluating prosthetic rehabilitation interventions for prosthetic ambulation following unilateral transfemoral or transgenicular amputation in older dysvascular people, whether community dwelling or institutionalised.

Search methods: The Cochrane Vascular Information Specialist searched the Cochrane Vascular Specialised Register and CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL databases; the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform; and the trials registry to 14 June 2018. We performed additional searches by handsearching citations of studies identified by the electronic search. We applied no restrictions on language or publication status.

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 older) dysvascular people.

Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently scanned the search results for potentially eligible studies and, on obtaining full reports of these, selected studies for inclusion and exclusion. Two review authors independently assessed the methodological quality of studies and extracted data. We used GRADE to assess the overall quality of evidence supporting the outcomes assessed in this review.

Main results: We identified no new studies for inclusion in this update. In total we included one trial, excluded 18 trials, classed one trial as ongoing, and classed another as awaiting classification. The total number of participants in the included trial was 10, and the methodological quality of this trial was moderate because of high risk of bias in relation to two domains (random sequence generation and allocation concealment) but low risk of bias for the four remaining domains (blinding, incomplete outcome data, selective reporting, and any other bias). The included trial was a short-term cross-over randomised trial undertaken in Canada, which tested the effects of adding three seemingly identical prosthetic weights (150 g vs 770 g vs 1625 g) to the prostheses of a total of 10 participants with unilateral dysvascular transfemoral amputation. Eight participants were over 60 years of age. Trial authors found that four participants preferred the addition of the lightest weight (150 g), five preferred the middle weight (770 g), and one preferred the heaviest weight (1625 g). Researchers interpreted this as equating to user satisfaction (success) and reported no adverse effects.

Authors' conclusions: The limited evidence presented in this review is of very low quality and is insufficient to inform the choice of prosthetic rehabilitation, including the optimum weight of the prosthesis, after unilateral transfemoral amputation in older dysvascular people. A programme of research that includes randomised controlled trials to examine key interventions is urgently required in this area.

Conflict of interest statement

SB has declared that his Institution received a small grant from the Physiotherapy Research Fund for some expenses associated with undertaking this review. TH was employed by Glasgow Caledonian University until March 2018, is an Honorary Professor at University of Manchester, a Visiting Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is a member of the Governing Board of Cochrane and City of Glasgow College and former Trustee of the Picker Institute Europe and has undertaken consultancy for Brunel University, Cardiff University, Kingston University, University of Central Lancashire, University of Plymouth and Edward Healthcare.


Study flow diagram.
Risk of bias summary: review authors' judgements about each risk of bias item for each included study.

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