Ambulatory Status following Major Lower Extremity Amputation

Katherine P. MacCallum, Patricia Yau, John Phair, Evan C. Lipsitz, Larry A. Scher, Karan Garg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: The ability to ambulate following major lower extremity amputation, either below (BKA) or above knee (AKA), is a major concern for all prospective patients. This study analyzed ambulatory rates and risk factors for nonambulation in patients undergoing a major lower extremity amputation. Methods: A retrospective review of 811 patients who underwent BKA or AKA at our institution between January 2009 and December 2014 was conducted. Demographic information and co-morbid conditions, including the patients’ functional status prior to surgery, at 6 months, and at latest follow up were recorded. Following exclusion criteria, 538 patients were included. Patients who were either independent or used an assistive device were considered ambulatory, while those who were completely wheelchair-dependent or bed-bound were considered nonambulatory. Results: Pre-operatively, 83.1% of BKA patients were ambulatory, significantly more so than those undergoing AKA (44.9%, P < 0.0001). At 6-month follow-up these percentages dropped to 58.0% and 25.2%, respectively, for all patients. For patients who were ambulatory pre-operatively, 182/246 (73.9%) of BKA and 32/51 (62.7%) of AKA remained so post-amputation. Of those patients with both 6-month and greater than 1-year follow-up, there was no change in ambulatory status between the 2 time periods. On multivariable logistic regression, age greater than 70 years and female sex were associated with nonambulation post-operatively (P = 0.001, P = 0.015, respectively). None of the co-morbid conditions recorded (diabetes, renal insufficiency, end-stage renal disease, peripheral vascular disease, or body mass index > 35) was found to have a statistically significant correlation with post-operative ambulation using multivariable analysis. Conclusions: The majority of ambulatory patients undergoing a major amputation were able to remain ambulatory. Patients who failed to ambulate 6 months after their amputation, failed to resume ambulating. Age greater than 70 and female sex were found to have a statistically significant association with becoming nonambulatory following surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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