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  1. Lee, Annemarie L. BPhysio, MPhysio, PhD
  2. Zabjek, Karl BSc, MSc, PhD
  3. Goldstein, Roger S. MB, ChB, FRCP(UK), FRCP(C), FCCP
  4. Brooks, Dina BSc(PT), MSc, PhD


PURPOSE: Changes in posture in individuals with an obstructive respiratory disease have been reported, but the extent of these deviations and their clinical significance is not well understood. This study aimed to systematically review the literature of the skeletal structural alignment in children and adults with an obstructive respiratory disease, describe the measurement techniques used, and determine the clinical relevance of any alternations.


METHODS: Observational cohort or cross-sectional studies of postural assessment were identified, with 2 reviewers independently assessing study quality.


RESULTS: A total of 18 studies were included, 12 in cystic fibrosis (CF), 5 in asthma, and 1 in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The overall quality assessment rating was 12.6 out of 16. Increased thoracic kyphosis or scoliosis was found in both children and adults with CF. Increased shoulder protraction and elevation were evident in asthma and COPD, although changes in spinal curvature were variable. The clinical impact of postural changes was diverse, with an inconsistent influence on lung function. A mix of methods was applied for postural assessment.


CONCLUSIONS: Skeletal structural malalignment appears to be present in some individuals with an obstructive respiratory disease, although the extent of alterations and its clinical impact is variable. Photogrammetry is used to provide a comprehensive assessment of posture in these populations.