Rehabilitation Trends After Lower Extremity Amputations in Canada

Ahmed Kayssi, Steven Dilkas, Derry L. Dance, Charles de Mestral, Thomas L. Forbes, Graham Roche-Nagle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background The heterogeneity of medical complications that lead to amputation has resulted in a diverse patient population with differing rehabilitation needs; however, the rehabilitation trends for patients with lower extremity amputations across Canada have not been studied previously. Objective To describe trends in rehabilitation after lower extremity amputations and the factors affecting rehabilitation length of stay in Canada. Design Retrospective cohort analysis. Setting Canadian inpatient rehabilitation facilities that received persons with lower extremity amputations discharged from academic or community hospitals. Participants Patients underwent lower extremity amputations between 2006 and 2009 for nontraumatic indications and were then discharged to a rehabilitation facility. Patients were identified from the Canadian Institute for Health Information's Discharge Abstract Database that includes hospital admissions across Canada except Quebec. Interventions Inpatient rehabilitation after lower extremity amputations. Main Outcome Measures Length of stay, discharge destination, and change in total and motor function scores. Results The analysis included 5342 persons who underwent lower extremity amputations, 1904 of whom were transferred to a rehabilitation facility (36%). Patients most commonly underwent single below-knee (74%) and above-knee (17%) amputations. The duration of rehabilitation varied by whether the amputation was performed by a vascular (median = 36 days), orthopedic (median = 38 days), or general surgeon (median = 35 days). The overall median length of stay was 36 days. Most patients (72%) subsequently were discharged home and 9% were readmitted to hospital. Predictors of longer rehabilitation included amputation by an orthopedic surgeon (beta = 5.0, P ≤.01), older age (beta = 0.2, P ≤.01), and a history of ischemic heart disease (beta = 3.8, P =.03) or congestive heart failure (beta = 5, P =.04). Patients who spent <7 days in hospital were significantly more likely to have a shorter rehabilitation stay (beta = −4, P =.03). Advanced patient age was the only predictor for hospital readmission (odds ratio = 1.03, P ≤.01). Conclusions Rehabilitation length of stay in Canada after lower extremity amputation varies by the type of surgeon performing the amputation. Advanced age, undergoing surgery in the province of Manitoba, and having a history of ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure predict a longer rehabilitation stay. A shorter perioperative hospitalization period (<7 days) predicts a shorter rehabilitation duration. Future studies are needed to explore these issues and to optimize the delivery of rehabilitation services to Canadians after lower extremity amputation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-501
Number of pages8
JournalPM and R
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


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