|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 97-102
Challenges and importance of thoracic expansion measuring device: A systemic review
Nidhi Ved, Amit Sharma
Department of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, School of Physiotherapy, RK University, Rajkot, Gujarat, India
|Date of Submission||01-Jan-2022|
|Date of Decision||05-Mar-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||27-Jun-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||19-Jan-2023|
Dr. Nidhi Ved
Richa Apartment, 3rd Floor, Dr. Yagnik Road, Rajkot - 360 001, Gujarat
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Thoracic expansion is defined as the difference in chest circumference between maximal exhalation and maximal inhalation. The ability to accurately evaluate thoracic expansion is important in diagnosing and evaluating the severity of disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, bronchiectasis, and ankylosing spondylitis. This study aimed to evaluate the available device for measuring thoracic expansion along with its cost, working mechanism, equipment required, the expertise required to operate it, reliability and validity of the device, and its commercial availability in the market. From January 2011 to December 2021, relevant keywords such as instruments for measuring chest expansion, sensors for detecting chest expansion, and others were used to search articles in electronic databases such as PubMed, PEDro, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar. To handle bibliographic data, the open-source reference management software Mendeley was utilized, and the duplicate research article was removed, allowing the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses flow diagram to be generated. Only 96 publications were considered based on the Downs and Black checklist, which was used to assess the methodological quality of the studies. Statistical analysis was done using the descriptive analysis method for assessing the data. Further study into producing accurate, cost-effective, easy-to-use, and widely available chest expansion measurement equipment that anybody can use without complexity or supervision is suggested.
Keywords: Biofeedback, Chest expansion, Chest movement, Chest sensors, Digital device, Measuring tap, Respiratory evaluation, Thoracic movement
|How to cite this article:|
Ved N, Sharma A. Challenges and importance of thoracic expansion measuring device: A systemic review. Indian J Phys Ther Res 2022;4:97-102
|How to cite this URL:|
Ved N, Sharma A. Challenges and importance of thoracic expansion measuring device: A systemic review. Indian J Phys Ther Res [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 1];4:97-102. Available from: https://www.ijptr.org/text.asp?2022/4/2/97/368045
| Introduction|| |
Thoracic expansion is defined as the difference in chest circumference between maximal exhalation and maximal inhalation. The ability to accurately evaluate thoracic expansion is important in diagnosing and evaluating the severity of disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, bronchiectasis, and ankylosing spondylitis as a noninvasive tool for assessing respiratory patterns. According to the Japanese guidelines – thoracic expansion score is considered the most standardized noninvasive method for knowing the effectiveness of any respiratory treatment in pulmonary rehabilitation.
Movements of the ribs occur at the costotransverse and the costovertebral joints. The orientation of these joints varies in the upper and lower ribs. Due to this pump handle movement is seen in the upper ribs, whereas bucket handle movement is seen in the lower ribs. Therefore, the upper, middle, and lower thoracic expansions should be assessed. Pathologic changes in the lungs or thoracic cage can restrict thoracic movement. Reversal of disease condition by medical, surgical, and physiotherapeutic can improve the thoracic expansion. Therefore, the measurement of thoracic expansion plays an important role in the medical and paramedical fields. For the upper thoracic expansion landmark taken is the axilla (2nd intercostal space), for measurement of the middle thoracic expansion landmark taken is the nipple (5th intercostal space), whereas for the lower thoracic expansion landmark taken is the xiphoid process.
Thoracic expansion score varies among healthy and diseased individuals, it ranges from 4 to 7 cm in healthy individuals while among individuals having lung pathology it decreases, and the more the severity of the disease the lesser the value of thoracic expansion. The normal range of thoracic expansion decreases with age (50%–60% between 15 and 75 years). Various studies suggested that thoracic expansion among men is 20% more than in women because male lungs are wider and bigger as compared to female lungs.
Hence, to understand the current trends and development for measuring chest expansion, a thorough review of present evidence was done. To achieve the highest accuracy relevant keywords such as instruments for measuring chest expansion, sensors for detecting chest expansion, instrument for respiratory evaluation, and instrument for chest examination were used for the searching article through the electronic databases such as PubMed, PEDro, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar from January 2011 to December 2021. An open-source reference management software Mendeley was used to manage bibliographic data and the duplicate research article was canceled out using which the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) flow diagram was created. Downs and Black checklist was used to measure the methodological quality of 188 articles and based on its assessed criteria, only 96 articles were eligible for the final list with an average score of 42 which is good in terms of the grading of the scale. The scoring of the scale was done by the reviewer and the external reviewer and the discrepancies were sorted out in the one-to-one meeting. The full text of these 96 research articles was reviewed for different methods and tools used for the measurement of thoracic expansion.
In clinical practice, a simple and inexpensive technique for the measurement of thoracic expansion is a taping measure. It is often used by physiotherapists to diagnose and evaluate treatment effectiveness, in different patient groups. During this maneuver, the circumference around the thorax is measured at specific measuring points during maximal inspiration and maximal expiration at three-level, i.e., at the axilla, nipple, and xiphoid process. To date, chest expansion is measured clinically by measuring tape, so the chances of human error persist, constant and continuous data are not possible until it is performed manually, and it is difficult for the subject to interpret it as it is subjective and temporary.,
Few researchers had developed chest expansion measuring devices but the reliability and validity of a few devices were very low, while few devices such as optic electronic plethysmography, respiratory movement measuring device (RMMD), motion capture system, terahertz wave method, strain sensor instrument, breath instrument for measuring chest expansion, ultrasound sensor method, and accelerometer method required huge setup with various sensors, camera, and computer unit which are not easy to handle and not widely available. Suggesting further research on developing an accurate, cost-effective, easy-to-use, and easily available chest expansion measuring device.,
| Subjects and Methods|| |
Relevant keywords were used for the searching through the electronic database PubMed, PEDro, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar from January 2011 to December 2021. An open-source reference management software Mendeley was used to manage bibliographic data and related research materials. Keywords used are related to the thoracic expansion and its measuring device, which are listed in [Table 1].
- The study associated with chest expansion
- Study allied to the anatomy of thoracic expansion
- Study relating the availability of chest expansion measuring device
- Study-related to sensor-based chest expansion measuring device
- Publication in peer-reviewed journals
- The publication is in between January 2001 and December 2021
- Full-text English language articles.
- Gray literature
- Predatory journals
- Unpublished articles
- Personal blogs
- Press column.
Further, the methodological quality of intervention studies was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. The abstract of the located articles was read to select the appropriate article and full text was evaluated of the relevant research.
The related research material was managed in the Mendeley, the duplicate research article was canceled out and the PRISMA flow diagram was created [Figure 1]. Downs and Black checklist was used to measure the methodological quality of 188 articles and based on its assessed criteria, only 96 articles were eligible for the final list with an average score of 42 which is good in terms of the grading of the scale. The scoring of the scale was done by the reviewer and the external reviewer and the discrepancies were sorted out in the one-to-one meeting.
|Figure 1: PRISMA flow diagram. PRISMA: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses|
Click here to view
The full text of these 96 research articles was reviewed for different method and tools used for the measurement of thoracic expansion.
| Result and Discussion|| |
The primary outcome of the study was to evaluate the available device for measuring thoracic expansion along with its cost, working mechanism, equipment required, the expertise required to operate it, reliability and validity of the device, and its commercial availability in the market. The secondary outcome was to assess the availability of the wearable device for measuring thoracic expansion. This study fulfills the alternative hypothesis that there are challenges among existing thoracic expansion measuring devices.
There is a variety of instruments and techniques which were used for the measurement of thoracic expansion given in [Table 1].
Various studies in form of randomized controlled trials have been conducted worldwide to analyze the effectiveness of different chest expansion measuring devices. A few of such research are listed below.
Erik Vanegas et al. (2020) conducted a systemic review on available sensing systems for respiratory monitoring, 198 articles were reviewed based on sensing techniques and sensors, respiratory parameters, sensor location, sensor size, processing unit, sensor validation, etc., and the study concluded that there is a requirement to form feasible, affordable, accurate, and unobstructed respiratory sensing system.
Chu et al. conducted a study on measuring respiratory rate and respiratory volume using a strain sensor among eight healthy normal individuals and concluded that this sensor is effective in measuring respiratory rate and respiratory volume during a steady inclined state and not during ambulation or exercise. Furthermore, the author further added that the reliability of this device was very low and further research is required in it.
Vieira et al. conducted a study to assess the effectiveness of optoelectronic plethysmography (OEP) on measuring chest expansion and inspiratory capacity among 17 healthy normal individuals and concluded that OEP is a valid evaluation tool to assess chest expansion during rest as well as during exercise, but it requires a closed chamber with highly equipped face mask and sensing operating system. Hence, further research should be done to develop a device that can easily and accurately measure chest expansion.
Hagman et al. (2016) conducted a study on measuring breathing patterns and respiratory movements with an RMMD among 20 normal healthy individuals and concluded that RMMD is significantly useful in measuring the rate, rhythm, and movement of the thorax.
Nishigaki et al. conducted a study on the development of a new measurement system of thoracic excursion with biofeedback on 33 normal healthy individuals, individuals were divided into two groups: initially in Group 1, chest excursion was measured by breath device (biofeedback integrated thoracic excursion measuring device) later chest excursion was measured by measuring tape, while in Group 2, vice versa was performed. The study concluded that the breath device is a reliable and valid tool to measure thoracic excursion and thoracic excursion was significantly more than when measured by breath as compared to measuring tape due to biofeedback provided by the breath device. The author also suggested implementing this while planning a pulmonary rehabilitation for pulmonary patients.
Ando et al. conducted a study on the biofeedback effect on a thoracic excursion in chest expansion training among 33 normal healthy individuals. Individuals were divided into two groups: Group A initially took 10 breaths with visual biofeedback and Group B initially took 10 breaths without visual biofeedback after 5 min break vice versa was done. The study concluded that biofeedback has a remarkable impact on thoracic excursion hence it should be included in the respiratory exercise regimen for people having reduced lung volume and capacity.
Ando et al. (2011) conducted a study to evaluate the effect of visual biofeedback on thoracic expansion using a biofeedback integrated thoracic expansion device. Two healthy males were taken for the study subject 1 performed 3 deep breaths with visual biofeedback then took a break for 5 min followed by 3 deep breaths without visual biofeedback, whereas subject 2 performed it vice versa. The study concluded that when biofeedback was not used then thoracic expansion was less due to tiredness but when visual biofeedback was used subjects were able to sustain the thoracic expansion larger and longer.
Monika Olsen et al. (2011) conducted a study on measuring chest expansion by two different techniques: the first traditional method via measuring tape and the second via RMMD. One hundred healthy individuals were divided into two groups: in Group A chest expansion was measured via measuring tape while in Group B chest expansion was measured via RMMD. The study concluded that RMMD is more accurate and sensitive in detecting chest expansion than measuring tape, but it is very expensive as it requires six laser sensors along with a huge processing unit, so it is not easy to handle and rarely available worldwide.
Hence, various such studies were taken into consideration and the conclusion was made that it is required to develop an accurate, cost-effective, easy to use, and easily available chest expansion measuring device which can be used in clinical practice for assessing patient's thoracic expansion and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment among patients.
Limitation of the study
- The study included full-text articles only
- Review of literature published between January 2001 and December 2021 was taken into consideration
- Articles focusing on thoracic abnormalities such as scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis were not taken into consideration
- Collaborative research was not done with other occupational expertise.
Strength of the study
- The study included 90+ articles for analyzing the available research
- A systematic method was used to analyze and interpret the available data
- Good quality articles checked by the Downs and Black checklist were only included for the systemic review
- A research gap was strongly found, recommending the development of a wearable thoracic expansion measuring device.
Further recommendation of the study
- To develop a thoracic expansion measuring device that can indicate the expansion at three different levels: upper lobe, middle lobe, and lower lobe
- Biofeedback can be added along with a thoracic expansion measuring device so that by audiovisual biofeedback, outcome measures can be enhanced improving lung volume and capacity
- It should be cost-effective, wearable, accurate, easy to use, and easily available
- Developing such a device will be of utmost usefulness in assessing the patient and checking the effectiveness of treatment
- As it is an innovation, funding can be applied under the various government schemes.
| Conclusion|| |
The study concludes that there is a need to develop an accurate, cost-effective, easy use, and easily available chest expansion measuring device which can be used in clinical practice for assessing patients' thoracic expansion and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment among patients.
Impact of study on society and public health
In the community, various pulmonary patients are suffering from a disease such as asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis, pneumonia, interstitial lung disease, and post-COVID-19 syndrome. They have reduced lung volume and capacity due to which symptoms such as dyspnea are very common. Developing a thoracic expansion measuring device with biofeedback integrated with it can help such pulmonary patients in assessing and improving their conditions at an early stage.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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