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BACKGROUND: Falls in individuals with lower limb amputations (LLAs) pose significant health concerns. The literature is limited regarding falls during the preprosthetic phase of rehabilitation for persons with LLAs.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence of falls and identify factors associated with falls during the preprosthetic recovery phase.
DESIGN: Retrospective chart audit.
SETTING: Inpatient rehabilitation program.
PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred forty individuals with LLAs (age ± SD = 61.93 ± 14.53 years, 73.18% male) who attended inpatient rehabilitation from 26 July 2011 to 21 August 2017.
INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: The number of self-reported falls was recorded from the time of surgery to admission for inpatient rehabilitation. Outcomes of interest were any fall (1+ fall) and recurrent falls (2+ falls). A retrospective chart audit was performed on consecutive admissions to an inpatient rehabilitation program.
RESULTS: The incidence of falls was 8.37 per 1000 patient-days. Falls were sustained by 60.9% of the sample. Unilateral transtibial amputation was independently associated with an increased risk of recurrent falls (relative risk [RR] 1.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-2.23, P = .008). Diabetes mellitus was independently associated with an increased risk of any fall (RR 1.18, 95% CI 1.01-.38, P = .03). Finally, bilateral transtibial amputation was independently associated with a reduced risk of any fall (RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.39-0.90, P = .014).
CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with the current literature, diabetes mellitus and a unilateral transtibial amputation were risk factors for falling, whereas a bilateral transtibial amputation and increasing age presented new findings as factors associated with decreased falling.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.
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