Date of Conferral





Public Health


Vibha Kumar


In the United States, the number of major limb amputees is predicted to exceed several million in the coming decades. For those amputees using a prosthesis, their quality of life (QoL) is often modulated by residuum limb problems resultant from its use. Multiple factors preclude quality evidence-based medicine (EBM) research in the field of prosthetics, leading to greater health risk from prosthetic prescription ambiguity. Positive social change is integral to good QoL; studies support administrative healthcare (AHc) as useful to support such, especially in the absence of EBM. This study utilized Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) AHc data to discriminate determinants of residual limb skin problem severity (RLSPS), relative to the artificial limb configuration (ALC) used through a retrospective, longitudinal study of a cohort of U.S.Veteran dysvascular amputees. The dataset was derived from multiple archival VHA AHc databases from which 279 Cohort members were identified who underwent amputation surgery during the fiscal year (FY) 2007 were dispensed a prosthesis, and had clinical records through FY 2011. ICD-9-CM and HCPCS codes were used to identify categories of RLSPS and ALC, respectively, with generalized estimating equations modeling to identify likelihood associations of parameters. Derivation of the study cohort dataset was encumbered by data integrity issues and coding system limitations; significant associations were detected for RLSPS with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, substance use disorder, and major depressive disorder, regardless of the ALC dispensed. The findings support the utility of an amputee-prosthesis AHc database to drive product, policy, and medical decisions toward an improved QoL for this vulnerable population.