Ambulation and functional outcome after major lower extremity amputation

Atish Chopra, Amir F. Azarbal, Enjae Jung, Cherrie Z. Abraham, Timothy K. Liem, Gregory J. Landry, Gregory L. Moneta, Erica Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: Major lower extremity amputations (MLEAs) remain a significant source of disability. It is unknown whether postamputation functional outcomes and outcome predictability have changed with a population of increasingly aging and obese patients. Accordingly, we sought to evaluate contemporary trends. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed to identify patients undergoing MLEA using Current Procedural Terminology codes in a university hospital. Demographics, comorbidities, perioperative variables, and outcomes were obtained. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, and χ2 and multivariate logistic regression modeling were used where appropriate. Survival analyses were performed with the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: From October 2005 to November 2016, 206 patients (147 male; mean age, 63 ± 13.5 years) underwent 256 MLEAs (90.9% below-knee amputations, 1.3% through-knee amputations, and 7.8% above-knee amputations [AKAs]) related to acute and critical limb ischemia, infection, or other causes. Mean follow-up was 178.7 ± 266.9 days. Conversion from below-knee amputation to AKA was 3.5%. Estimated 1-year survival was 83%, and it was 15% lower in nonambulatory patients (75% vs 90%; P =.04). Overall 1-year postamputation ambulatory rate was 46.1%. Nonambulatory patients had a higher body mass index (30.9 ± 8.0 vs 25.6 ± 5.4; P <.001), lower preoperative hematocrit (31.0% ± 7.4% vs 33.3% ± 8.1%; P <.05), higher modified frailty index (mFI; 8.4 ± 1.0 vs 5.4 ± 1.2; P <.0001), higher chronic alcohol use (9% vs 1%; P =.01), dependent preoperative functional status (29% vs 2.1%; P <.01), and lack of family support (66.3% vs 17.9%; P <.01); they were less likely to be married (83.2% vs 35.8%; P <.01) and more likely to have an AKA (20% vs 52.6%; P =.004). There were no patients with dementia, on dialysis, or with bilateral MLEAs who were ambulatory after amputation. Factors predictive of nonambulatory status after MLEA with multivariate logistic regression analysis included increased body mass index (odds ratio [OR], 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81-0.98; P =.017) and an increased mFI (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.16-0.34; P <.0001); a higher hemoglobin level was protective (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.03-1.62; P =.019). Conclusions: Patients should be counseled that <50% of patients receiving MLEAs are ambulatory after amputation. Educating patients about the deleterious effects of obesity on ambulatory status after MLEA may motivate patients to improve their level of fitness to achieve successful ambulation. Patients with an elevated mFI, patients with dementia, and those on dialysis should be considered for AKAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1521-1529
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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