Thoracic kyphosis and physical function
Excessive kyphosis of the thoracic spine often occurs at older age. Hyperkyphosis is associated with adverse health outcomes, such as falls, fractures and mortality in older adults. However, the effect of kyphosis severity on physical function is not firmly established. This prospective cohort study aimed to determine the contribution of excessive kyphosis to decreased physical function over 3 years of follow-up in a community-based sample of adults.
A total of 1100 participants aged 50 years and older were included in this study. Kyphosis was determined using lateral CT images to determine the Cobb angle between T4 and T12. Multiple performance-based tests of physical function were used, alongside a questionnaire to determine self-reported physical function. Participants were divdided into four quartiles (Q1-Q4) based on Cobb angle, with Q4 representing the most excessive kyphosis. The study findings showed no difference in walking speed, grip strength, chair stand time, and frequency of self-reported physical impairment between women or men, with and without excessive kyphosis, younger or older than 65.
In this study of relatively healthy adults with a high level of physical function, greater kyphosis severity did not adversely affect physical function inadults younger or older than 65. This lack of association suggests that individuals at risk of functional decline in late adulthood cannotbe identified based solely on radiologic measure of kyphosis.
> From: Lorbergs et al., J Am Geriatr Soc (2017) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.