Exploring what is important to patients with regards to Quality of Life after experiencing a lower limb reconstructive procedure: a qualitative evidence synthesis

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Patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) are used to understand the impact of lower limb reconstruction surgery on patients’ quality of life (QOL). Existing measures have not been developed to specifically capture patient experiences amongst adults with lower limb conditions that require reconstruction surgery. This review aimed to synthesise qualitative evidence to identify what is important to patients requiring, undergoing, or following reconstructive surgery for lower limb conditions.
MEDLINE, Embase, PsychINFO and Cinahl were searched from inception until November 2020. Studies were included if they employed qualitative research methods, involved patients requiring, undergoing or following lower limb reconstruction and explored patients’ experiences of care, treatment, recovery and QOL. Mixed methods studies that did not separately report qualitative findings, mixed population studies that were not separately reported and studies in languages other than English were excluded. Included studies were analysed using thematic synthesis. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme qualitative studies checklist was used to undertake quality assessment.
Nine studies met the inclusion criteria. The thematic synthesis identified two overarching themes: (1) areas of living key to QOL for lower limb reconstruction patients and (2) moving towards a new normal. The way in which lower limb reconstruction affects an individual’s QOL and their recovery is complex and is influenced by a range of inter-related factors, which will affect patients to varying degrees depending on their individual circumstances. We identified these factors as: pain, daily functioning and lifestyle, identity, income, emotional wellbeing, support, the ability to adapt and adjust and the ability to move forwards.
The way patients’ QOL is affected after a lower limb reconstruction is complex, may change over time and is strongly linked to their recovery. These findings will aid us in developing a conceptual framework which identifies the outcomes important to patients and those that should be included in a PROM. Further research is then required to establish whether the range of factors we identified are captured by existing PROMs. Depending on the outcome of this work, a new PROM for patients following lower limb reconstruction may be required.

PROSPERO ID: CRD42019139587
KEYWORDS: Quality of life, Lower limb reconstruction, Qualitative evidence synthesis, Thematic synthesis, Patient reported outcome measures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number158
Number of pages16
JournalHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

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