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Amputee – Improves cardiopulmonary function

Improves cardiopulmonary function

Evidence summary

A review of 47 papers identified 12 studies that reviewed the relationship between regular physical activity and cardiopulmonary function, concluding that there were beneficial effects [1].  Rehabilitation time was found to be shorter in those that incorporate physical training into their rehabilitation programmes. Other studies have identified that greater cardiovascular fitness is associated with more successful prosthetic rehabilitation [2,3]. Physical activity interventions also reduce the metabolic cost of exercise [4,5].

Quality of evidence


Strength of recommendation



Regular physical activity should be encouraged in lower limb amputees and can be expected to improve their cardiopulmonary function. Amputees learning to use a prosthesis are more likely to be successful with their rehabilitation if they have greater cardiopulmonary function, and this can be addressed with regular physical activity.

Lower limb amputations are performed for a number of clinical indications. Although most evidence around physical activity relates to prosthetic users and for dysvascular amputees, the benefits of physical activity are not exclusive to these groups and should be shared with all lower limb amputees. Lower limb amputees wishing to increase their physical activity levels should be encouraged to do so.


  1. Bragaru M, Dekker R, Geertzen JHB, et al. Amputees and Sports A Systematic Review. Sports Medicine 2011;41(9):721-40. doi: 10.2165/11590420-000000000-00000
  2. Chin T, Sawamura S, Shiba R. Effect of physical fitness on prosthetic ambulation in elderly amputees. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 2006;85(12):992-96. doi: 10.1097/01.phm.0000247653.11780.0b
  3. Hamamura S, Chin T, Kuroda R, et al. Factors Affecting Prosthetic Rehabilitation Outcomes in Amputees of Age 60 Years and Over. Journal of International Medical Research 2009;37(6):1921-27. doi: 10.1177/147323000903700630
  4. Ward KH, Meyers MC. Exercise Performance of Lower-Extremity Amputees. Sports Medicine 1995;20(4):207-14. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199520040-00001
  5. Darter BJ, Nielsen DH, Yack HJ, et al. Home-Based Treadmill Training to Improve Gait Performance in Persons With a Chronic Transfemoral Amputation. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2013;94(12):2440-47. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2013.08.001