Increased arm span to height ratio associated with decreases in respiratory airflow, difficulty breathing and right heart strain
09 feb 2009-- An increased arm span to height ratio, suggesting a loss of height, is significantly associated with reduced respiratory airflow volumes, increased dyspnea severity, and right heart strain indicative of pulmonary heart disease, according to research published in the February issue of Chest.
In their study, Maw P. Tan, of Newcastle University in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated 66 individuals (mean age 71 years). All patients had suspected heart failure and were investigated with transthoracic echocardiography. A clinical history and physical examination was performed on each participant.
The investigators found that the ratio between arm span to height was significantly negatively correlated with respiratory airflow volumes (forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity) and body weight, but was positively correlated with the degree of dyspnea. Additionally, mean arm span to height ratios were significantly higher in individuals using inhaled anticholinergics, inhaled or oral steroids, or inhaled beta-agonists. Several factors were associated with an increased likelihood of an increased arm span to height ratio, including female sex, steroid use, inhaled bronchodilators, orthopnea, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea and right heart chamber dilatation, the report indicates.
"The association between right heart chamber dilatation and increased arm span to height ratio suggests the possibility of ensuing cardiac complications, further highlighting the potential clinical importance of the discrepancy between arm span and standing height," the authors write.
One study author reports a financial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.