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Chest Expansion Test - Ankylosing Spondylitis

Chest Expansion Test - Ankylosing Spondylitis

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Below is a transcript of a discussion between myself and one of our BJC physiotherapists, Rachael Butterworth about how to perform the Chest Expansion Test.

Robert: Hello my name is Robert Russo, and I'm a rheumatologist at BJC Health. And today I'm going to ask physiologist Rachael Butterworth, who has expertise in anklosing spondylitis, to take us through the chest expansion test which is used in the assessment of anklosing spondylitis. Thanks Rachael.

Rachael: Thanks Rob. So I'm going to go through the chest expansion test. The first thing we have to do is to find the the fourth intercostal space, and the way to do that is to find the first and second rib space and then come down until your on the fourth intercostal space.

The patient then has to get their hands on their head, making sure you still stay on that fourth intercostal space. We get a tape measure, come around the patient, and you need to hold quite firm and measure what that is. Fully expirate, so all the way out, and the full breath in. And all the way out again, and all the way in. And all the way out. And take that measure, the best measure of two tries, making sure your not restricting the patient by holding the tape to tight.

Robert: Hi Rachael. Thank you very much for demonstrating the chest expansion test, which is used in the assessment of anklosing spondylitis. So Rachael how do you determine if the test you measure is abnormal?

Rachael: So what we look at if we use the example of Errol just then, his measure was five centimeters. If we look at his average values for him for age and for gender, we would expect six and a half centimeters. Now restriction is noted if its two and a half centimeters below the expected average, so he still fits within normal.

Robert: Well, thank you very much Rachael for demonstrating the chest expansion test.

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