Immunological Status in Patients with Lower Limb Amputation Due to Peripheral Arterial Disease before and after Comprehensive Rehabilitation

Martin Štefančič, Metka Prešern-Štrukelj, Gaj Vidmar, Vladimir Kotnik, Andreja Nataša Kopitar, Alojz Ihan


The immunological status before and after a comprehensive rehabilitation program was studied. Seven persons (4 males, 3 females, mean age 71.4 years) after lower limb amputation due to peripheral arterial disease (PAD) were subject to standard comprehensive rehabilitation program for amputees of four-week duration, which included training in activities of daily living, daily exercise of various types, training of crutch-assisted gait and use of leg prosthesis, and mild transcutaneous electrical stimulation. Before and after rehabilitation, peripherial blood was collected and the number and ratio of white blood cells were determined and analysed for the expression of cell surface antigens (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19, CD25, CD69), cytokines (IFN-gamma, IL-4) and phagocytosis/oxidative killing functional tests. Due to strict patient selection criteria excluding serious accompanying disease, immunological parameters were within normal limits already before rehabilitation. After rehabilitation, an increase in oxidative burst was observed in monocytes and neutrophil granulocytes, but statistically significant only in monocytes. The expression of CD69 molecules by T cells and monocytes was significantly increased, as well as the expression of IL-4 by T cells. A significant decrease in the ratio of CD4 to CD8 cells was also found, but not a clinically critical one. It can therefore be concluded that the comprehensive rehabilitation treatment in patients with lower limb amputation due to PAD led to some – prevailingly positive – immunological changes, which were consistent with the patients' improved physical condition and clinical status.


rehabilitation; physical therapy modalities; peripheral vascular disease; amputees; immune system processes

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