Veterans with combat-related amputations experience numerous challenges, yet few studies have examined patient-reported outcomes, including physical functional status, mental health screening status, and quality of life (QOL), or the relationship between these outcomes. With that in mind, researchers evaluated those criteria in 82 servicemembers with combat-related lower-limb amputations who participated in the Wounded Warrior Recovery Project.
Patient-reported outcomes of physical functional status, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression screening status, and QOL were compared, while accounting for amputation level. Linear regression assessed relationships between physical functional status and QOL, as well as mental health screening status.
The study found that higher physical functioning scores were associated with better QOL, and lower physical functioning scores were associated with screening positive for PTSD or depression. A significant relationship was observed between mean physical functioning scores and amputation level with a negative PTSD or depression screen only. Additionally, those veterans with bilateral amputations reported lower physical functioning. As a result, physical functioning was associated with patient-reported outcomes, including QOL and mental health screening. Screening positive for PTSD or depression was associated with worsened self-reported physical function and may outweigh the impact of amputation severity on physical functioning, the study’s authors noted, because successful rehabilitation requires the integration of physical and mental health domains to achieve optimal functioning.
The study, “The relationship between self-reported physical functioning, mental health, and quality of life in Service members after combat-related lower extremity amputation,” was published in Disability and Rehabilitation.