New on JHND Early View- Measuring height in elderly patients

JHND logoAgreement between different methods of measuring height in elderly patientsH. Frid, E. Thors Adolfsson, A. Rosenblad and M. Nydahl, Uppsala University, Sweden.


The present study aimed to examine the agreement between measurements of standing height and self-reported height, height measured with a sliding caliper, and height estimated from either demispan or knee height in elderly patients.


Fifty-five patients (mean age 79 years) at a Swedish hospital were included in this observational study. The participants’ heights were evaluated as the standing height, self-reported height, height measured in a recumbent position with a sliding caliper, and height estimated from the demispan or knee height.


The measurements made with a sliding caliper in the recumbent position agreed most closely with the standing height. Ninety-five percent of the individuals’ differences from standing height were within an interval of +1.1 to −4.8 cm (limits of agreement). Self-reported height and height estimated from knee height differed relatively strongly from standing height. The limits of agreement were +5.2 to −9.8 cm and +9.4 to −6.2 cm, respectively. The widest distribution of differences was found in the height estimated from the demispan, with limits of agreements from +11.2 to −9.3 cm.


When measuring the height of patients who find it difficult to stand upright, a sliding caliper should be the method of choice, and the second choice should be self-reported height or the height estimated from knee height. Estimating height from the demispan should be the method of last resort.


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