Objectives: To assess whether kyphosis is associated with ventilatory dysfunction in older community dwellers.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: The unselected population of Dicomano, Italy aged>or=65 years.
Participants: A total of 323 nonheart failure participants underwent clinical evaluation for the presence of kyphosis and spirometry. The severity of kyphosis was estimated from the difference between standing stature and knee-height-derived stature and from the occiput-wall distance.
Measurements: Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and prevalence of obstructive and restrictive ventilatory pattern.
Results: The 130 kyphotic participants (40.2%) had an adjusted 2.5 prevalence odds ratio (POR) for dyspnea (95% confidence interval (CI)=1.1-5.8). FVC% and FEV1% were lower in the presence of kyphosis (P<.01); their deficit was proportional to kyphosis severity. The ventilatory dysfunction was underestimated when reference spirometric parameters were calculated based on standing stature, compared with knee-height derived stature. Of the kyphotic participants, 56.2%, 26.9%, and 16.9% had spirometric normal, obstructive, and restrictive patterns, respectively. Kyphosis was associated with a restrictive (adjusted POR=2.3, 95% CI=1.1-4.8; P=.021) and an obstructive ventilatory pattern (adjusted POR=3.3, 95% CI=1.7-6.5; P<.001).
Conclusion: In unselected older persons, kyphosis is associated with dyspnea and ventilatory dysfunction of a restrictive and an obstructive type. Kyphosis should be included in the differential diagnosis of dyspnea and ventilatory dysfunction in the elderly.