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J Rehabil Res Dev. 2014;51(10):1469-96. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2014.05.0118.

Benefits of microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knees to limited community ambulators: systematic review.

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Medical Affairs, Otto Bock Healthcare LP, Austin, TX;


The benefits of microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knees (MPKs) have been well established in community ambulators (Medicare Functional Classification Level [MFCL]-3) with a transfemoral amputation (TFA). A systematic review of the literature was performed to analyze whether limited community ambulators (MFCL-2) may also benefit from using an MPK in safety, performance-based function and mobility, and perceived function and satisfaction. We searched 10 scientific databases for clinical trials with MPKs and identified six publications with 57 subjects with TFA and MFCL-2 mobility grade. Using the criteria of a Cochrane Review on prosthetic components, we rated methodological quality moderate in four publications and low in two publications. MPK use may significantly reduce uncontrolled falls by up to 80% as well as significantly improve indicators of fall risk. Performance-based outcome measures suggest that persons with MFCL-2 mobility grade may be able to walk about 14% to 25% faster on level ground, be around 20% quicker on uneven surfaces, and descend a slope almost 30% faster when using an MPK. The results of this systematic review suggest that trial fittings may be used to determine whether or not individuals with TFA and MFCL-2 mobility grade benefit from MPK use. Criteria for patient selection and assessment of trial fitting success or failure are proposed.


MPK; Medicare Functional Classification Level-2; community ambulator; limited community ambulator; microprocessor-controlled knees; mobility; non-microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knees; perceived function; performance-based function and mobility; safety; transfemoral amputation

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