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Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

First Advisor

Nancy Cicirello, MPH, PT

Second Advisor

Mary K. Farrell, MS, PT, NCS


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License


Introduction and Background. Chest expansion measurements provide information regarding a patient's baseline respiratory status. Repetition of measurements allows for monitoring progression of respiratory muscle function and chest wall mobility. In order for chest expansion measurements to provide interrater and intrarater reliability; consistent measurement sites and positions need to be established. However, current research regarding normal chest expansion measurements, consistent patient position and site of measurement is limited. The purpose of this study was to establish normative . values in 60 typical males between 16 and 30 years of age (mean age 20.95 years) with the body mass index (BMI) less than 30 kglm2 (mean BMI 24.73 kg/m2 ), for comparison purposes when treating individuals following a spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods. Each subject was measured in two positions, supine and sitting, at two-chest measurement sites, the 3rd rib/sternum junction and xiphoid process. This data was analyzed to find the mean (± SD) chest expansion values between different measurement sites and subject positions.

Results. The supine & 3rd rib/sternum measurement was 6.81 ± 1.66 em and supine & xiphoid mean value was 6.79 ± 1.88 cm. The sitting & 3rd rib/sternum measurement was 6.85 ± 1.86 cm and sitting & xiphoid was 6.37 ± 1.61 cm.

Conclusion. This study provided clinical applicability with a developed repeatable measurement technique that can be applied when assessing chest expansion and/or treating persons following a SCI.


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