Measures and procedures utilized to determine the added value of microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joints: a systematic review

Patrick J. R. Theeven*, Bea Hemmen, Peter R. G. Brink, Rob J. E. M. Smeets, Henk A. M. Seelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: The effectiveness of microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joints (MPKs) has been assessed using a variety of outcome measures in a variety of health and health-related domains. However, if the patient is to receive a prosthetic knee joint that enables him to function optimally in daily life, it is vital that the clinician has adequate information about the effects of that particular component on all aspects of persons' functioning. Especially information concerning activities and participation is of high importance, as this component of functioning closely describes the person's ability to function with the prosthesis in daily life. The present study aimed to review the outcome measures that have been utilized to assess the effects of microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joints (MPK), in comparison with mechanically controlled prosthetic knee joints, and aimed to classify these measures according to the components and categories of functioning defined by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Subsequently, the gaps in the scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of MPKs were determined. Methods: A systematic literature search in 6 databases (i.e. PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Embase, Medline and PsychInfo) identified scientific studies that compared the effects of using MPKs with mechanically controlled prosthetic knee joints on persons' functioning. The outcome measures that have been utilized in those studies were extracted and categorized according to the ICF framework. Also, a descriptive analysis regarding all studies has been performed. Results: A total of 37 studies and 72 outcome measures have been identified. The majority (67%) of the outcome measures that described the effects of using an MPK on persons' actual performance with the prosthesis covered the ICF body functions component. Only 31% of the measures on persons' actual performance investigated how an MPK may affect performance in daily life. Research also typically focused on young, fit and active persons. Conclusions: Scientifically valid evidence regarding the performance of persons with an MPK in everyday life is limited. Future research should specifically focus on activities and participation to increase the understanding of the possible functional added value of MPKs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberUNSP 333
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2013


  • Rehabilitation
  • Functioning
  • Review
  • Classification
  • Amputation
  • Lower extremities
  • Microprocessor-controlled knee joint

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