Wheeled mobility: Factors influencing mobility and assistive technology in veterans and servicemembers with major traumatic limb loss from Vietnam war and OIF/OEF conflicts

Laferrier, Justin Z.; McFarland, Lynne V.; Boninger, Michael L.; Cooper, Rory A.; Reiber, Gayle E.
May 2010
Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development;2010, Vol. 47 Issue 3, p349
Academic Journal
Returning wounded veterans and service-members to their highest level of function following traumatic injury is a priority of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. We surveyed 245 veterans from the Vietnam war and 226 service-members and veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) conflicts with at least one major traumatic lower-limb loss to determine their use of mobility assistive technology (AT) and patterns of limb abandonment. Prosthetic device use without wheelchair use is found in 50.5% of Vietnam and 42.8% of OIF/OEF groups. Prostheses and supplementary wheelchairs are used by Vietnam (32%) and OIF/OEF (53%) groups (p < 0.01). Exclusive wheelchair use is more frequent in the Vietnam group (18%) than in the OIF/OEF group (4.0%, p < 0.01). In Vietnam participants, multivariate analysis found that multiple-limb loss (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 14.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.5-38.5), bilateral lower-limb loss (AOR = 12.7; 95% CI 6.2-26.1), and number of comorbidities (AOR = 1.3; 95% CI 1.2-1.5) are associated with increased likelihood of wheelchair use. In OIF/OEF participants, bilateral lower-limb loss (AOR = 29.8; 95% CI 11.0-80.7), multiple-limb loss (AOR = 16.3; 95% CI 3.1-85.3), cumulative trauma disorder (AOR = 2.4; 95% CI 1.2-4.9), and number of combat injuries (AOR = 1.4; 95% CI 1.2-1.7) are associated with wheelchair use. Combined use of different types of mobility ATs promotes improved rehabilitation and ability to function.


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