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Servicemembers and veterans with major traumatic limb loss from Vietnam war and OIF/OEF conflicts: survey methods, participants, and summary findings.

Reiber GE, McFarland LV, Hubbard S, Maynard C, Hubbard S, Blough DK, Gambel JM, Smith DG, Smith DG. Servicemembers and veterans with major traumatic limb loss from Vietnam war and OIF/OEF conflicts: survey methods, participants, and summary findings. Journal of rehabilitation research and development. 2010 Dec 20; 47(4):275-97.

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Abstract:

Care of veterans and servicemembers with major traumatic limb loss from combat theaters is one of the highest priorities of the Department of Veteran Affairs. We achieved a 62% response rate in our Survey for Prosthetic Use from 298 Vietnam war veterans and 283 servicemembers/veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) who sustained major traumatic limb loss. Participants reported their combat injuries; health status; quality of life; and prosthetic device use, function, rejection, and satisfaction. Despite the serious injuries experienced, health status was rated excellent, very good, or good by 70.7% of Vietnam war and 85.5% of OIF/OEF survey participants. However, many health issues persist for Vietnam war and OIF/OEF survey participants (respectively): phantom limb pain (72.2%/76.0%), chronic back pain (36.2%/42.1%), residual-limb pain (48.3%/62.9%), prosthesis-related skin problems (51.0%/58.0%), hearing loss (47.0%/47.0%), traumatic brain injury (3.4%/33.9%), depression (24.5%/24.0%), and posttraumatic stress disorder (37.6%/58.7%). Prosthetic devices are currently used by 78.2% of Vietnam war and 90.5% of OIF/OEF survey participants to improve function and mobility. On average, the annual rate for prosthetic device receipt is 10.7-fold higher for OIF/OEF than for Vietnam war survey participants. Findings from this cross-conflict survey identify many strengths in prosthetic rehabilitation for those with limb loss and several areas for future attention.





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