OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the physical fitness and prosthetic ambulation ability of high-level (hip disarticulation, transfemoral) lower-limb amputees aged 60 and above, and to investigate the level of fitness required for successful prosthetic ambulation. DESIGN: The test subjects were 49 amputees aged 60 and above. Subjects were permitted to use any necessary ambulatory aids and were asked to walk at their most comfortable walking speed for evaluation of prosthetic ambulation ability. An incremental exercise test was performed to evaluate physical fitness. RESULTS: The average %VO(2max) value for the successful user group was 64.4%, and the average %VO(2max) value for the failed user group was 44.8%, a statistically significant difference (P < 0.01). Of the amputees with %VO(2max) > or =50, 93.7% were in the successful user group. Of the amputees with %VO(2max) or =50%VO(2max) can be regarded as a guideline value for the level of fitness required for successful prosthetic ambulation in elderly amputees.
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