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Arm span instead of standing heightArm span

Standing height may be affected by disease, such as in kyphosis and kyphoscoliosis. We often want to know the impact of the distortion and limited excursion of the chest wall on lung volumes. We must then compare the actual lung volumes to the ones predicted in a subject without deformity of the trunk. One can then substitute arm span (i.e. the largest distance across the middle fingers when the arms are stretched horizontally sideways) for standing height.

 

Children/adolescents: Height and armspan were measured in healthy 6-10 and 8-18 year old boys and girls to assess the appropriate correction factor to be applied when height cannot be measured easily. No correction factor was found necessary, height being directly estimated from armspan (Hibbert, Torres).

Adults: in males substitute arm span/1.03 for standing height in the regression equation, in women arm span/1.01.

Ethnic differences: The trunk in Negroid and Mongoloid people is shorter or longer, respectively, than in Caucasians; hence the relationship between arm span and standing height differs somewhat between ethnic groups. Aggarwal et al. found an arm-span/height ratio of 1.024 in North Indian subjects. Parker et al. found sex, age and race related differences, and recommend the following equation when there is racial and gender heterogeneity:

Height = 67.90 + 0.664182·Arm span- 2.816·Sex - 4.05·Race - 0.0709·Age, R²0.8659, RSD 3.772,
where Sex 1 = male, 2 = female, and Race 1=white, 2=black, height and arm span in cm, and age in yr.

For homogeneous populations the following equations are recommended by Parker et al.:

White males: Height = 68.74 + 0.63008·Arm span - 0.1019·Age, R² = 0.7219, RSD 4.122;
White females: Height = 33.14 + 0.79499·Arm span, R² = 0.7684, RSD 3.391;
Black males: Height = 60.13 + 0.0.65336·Arm span - 0.08399·Age, R² =0.8137, RSD = 3.044;
Black females: Height = 59.07 + 0.61442·Arm span, R² = 0.6113, RSD 3.693.

Example: white woman (standing height 1.48 m, arm span 1.78 m, age 65 year) with severe kyphoscoliosis.

    Predicted from
Index Measured Height Arm span
FEV1 (L) 0.84 1.75 2.95
IVC (L) 0.98 2.27 3.69
FEV1%IVC 86 77 77

See also:
Sources of variability between subjects


Arm span and height
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11 Hibbert ME, Lanigan A, Raven J, Phelan PD. Relation of arm span to height and the prediction of lung function. Thorax 1988; 43: 657-659.
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20 Parker JM, Dillard TA, Phillips YY. Arm span-height relationships in patients referred for spirometry. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1996; 154: 533-536.
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23 Shahar S, Pooy NS. Predictive equations for estimation of stature in Malaysian elderly people. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2003; 12: 80-84.
24 Steele MF, Mattox PV. Correlation of arm-span and height, in young women of two races. Ann Hum Biol 1987; 14: 445-447.
25 Steele MF, Chenier TC. Arm-span, height, and age in black and white women. Ann Hum Biol 1990;17: 533-541.
26 Teramoto S, Matsuse T, Ouchi Y. Substitution of arm span for standing height is important for the assessment of predicted value of lung volumes in elderly people with osteoporosis. Chest 1999; 116: 1837-1838.
27 Ter Goon D, Toriola AL, Musa DI, Akusu S. The relationship between arm span and stature in Nigerian adults. Kinesiology 2001; 43: 38-43.
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Example modified from:
  Longfunctie-onderzoek. Technieken, toepassingen, interpretaties (p. 19, table 3). Ed. M. Demedts and M. Decramer. Garant, Leuven/Apeldoorn, 1998. ISBN 90-5350-630-6.
   
  Further references.
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