Effects of backpack loading on the pulmonary capacities of normal schoolgirls and those with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Hung Kay Daniel CHOW, Xavier H. Y. NG, Andrew D. HOLMES, Jack C. Y. CHENG, Fiona Y. D. YAO, M. S. WONG

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Abstract

Study Design. A prospective evaluation of the effects of backpack carriage on the pulmonary function of schoolgirls without spinal deformity versus those with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). 

Objective. To establish if recommended backpack load limits for normal schoolchildren are also appropriate for study participants with AIS. 

Summary of Background Data. The weight of schoolchildren's backpacks are of concern because of effects including compromise of pulmonary function. Impaired pulmonary function is also found with AIS, but the effect of backpack carriage on the respiratory parameters of schoolchildren with AIS has not previously been examined. 

Methods. Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume (FEV1), peak expiratory flow (PEF), and forced expiratory flow (FEF25-75%) were recorded in 17 girls (mean age, 12 years) with moderate AIS (Cobb angle, 26 degrees-50 degrees) and 18 girls (mean age, 11 years) without musculoskeletal deformity during carriage of a backpack loaded at 0%, 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 12.5%, and 15% body weight in random order. Absolute values and proportions of reference values were analyzed by repeated-measures analysis of variance. 

Results. No interaction between load and group was found, indicating that backpack loading has a similar effect on the pulmonary function of both normal and AIS groups. However, all recorded pulmonary parameters were found to be significantly lower in the AIS than normal group, significantly so for the referenced FVC and PEF. A significant decrease in FVC and FEV1 was found with increasing backpack load, and the load at which these changes were found to be significant was lower than those established in previous studies. 

Conclusions. Pulmonary function may be more sensitive to backpack load than previously considered, especially when study participants with AIS are being considered, and the recommended loading limit of 10% body weight may not be applicable to schoolgirls with AIS. Copyright © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E649-E654
JournalSpine
Volume30
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2005

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Lung Volume Measurements
Scoliosis
Lung
Vital Capacity
Body Weight
Forced Expiratory Volume
Analysis of Variance
Reference Values
Weights and Measures

Citation

Chow, D. H. K., Ng, X. H. Y., Holmes, A. D., Cheng, J. C. Y., Yao, F. Y. D., & Wong, M. S. (2005). Effects of backpack loading on the pulmonary capacities of normal schoolgirls and those with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Spine, 30(21), E649-E654. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000184368.58262.d2

Keywords

  • Pulmonary function
  • Scoliosis
  • Backpack
  • Loading