2004 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
EFFECTS OF THORACOLUMBAR CORSETS ON BREATHING PATTERNS IN NORMAL SUBJECTS.
T. Puckree PH.D. PT,
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Stable uncomplicated injuries of the spine are supported by thoracolumbar corsets in South African spinal units. The effects of these corsets on breathing pattern either in normal or patients with spinal injuries are not known. Spinal cord injured patients are at a greater risk of developing pulmonary problems due the injury. While supporting the spine, the thoracolumbar corset may affect compliance of the thoracic cage and activity of the breathing muscles. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of wearing a thoracolumbar corset on breathing patterns. The sample of convenience consisted of 8 healthy, young non-smoking female students who participated by fully informed voluntary consent. Tidal volume (Vt), breathing frequency (Fb), minute ventilation, oxygen consumption and Carbon-di-oxide output were monitored (2 minutes each) in supine and seated subjects immediately before and after wearing the corset, after wearing the corset for one hour and immediately after removal of the corset. The facemask was connected to the Cortex Metamax data collection system (Cortex MetaMax, Portable Test System; Biophysik GmgH – Model SBS). The volume transducer Triple-Vr. was calibrated using a 3-litre calibration syringe prior to data collection. A Nation® tube was used to guarantee a constant humidity during measurements. Normalized data were subjected to MANOVA (p< 0.05). Wearing the corset for one hour significantly decreased Vt by 24% and increased Fb by 19% in sitting compared to the control condition. Subjects who had been wearing the corset for 1 hour had significantly lower Vt in supine compared to sitting. We conclude that when a corset is worn for at least one hour, Vt and Fb change to maintain the minute ventilation. More research is indicated to determine the effects of wearing a corset for longer than an hour on pulmonary variables in patients.