Traumatic limb injury (TLI) can have a negative impact on a patient’s quality of life (QOL), and the patient’s QOL may fluctuate over time. However, the longitudinal change patterns of QOL in patients with TLI are largely unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the QOL trajectories in patients with TLI in 4 QOL domains: physical capacity, psychological well-being, social relationships, and environment.
The patients’ QOL was assessed within 14 days and at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after injury. In each QOL domain, 4 latent growth curve models (LGMs, including non-growth, linear growth, quadratic growth, and cubic LGM) were adopted to examine the QOL trajectories across the 6 time points.
A total of 499 patients completed the 6 assessments. For all 4 QOL domains, the cubic LGM had the best model fitting (root-mean-square error of approximation < 0.01) revealing that the patients’ 4 QOL domains changed with cubic trajectories: QOL improved in the first 6 months, deteriorated in the second 6 months, and improved smoothly at 12–24 months after injury.
This study found that the trajectories in the 4 QOL domains were cubic trajectories in patients with TLI. These findings indicate that clinicians should pay additional attention to improve the patients’ QOL in the first 6 months after injury and to prevent or reduce QOL deterioration at 6–12 months.