Background: Few digitizers can measure the complexity of upright human postural displacements in six degrees of freedom of the head, rib cage, and pelvis.
Methods: In a University laboratory, three examiners performed delayed repeated postural measurements on forty subjects over two days. Three digital photographs (left lateral, AP, right lateral) of each of 40 volunteer participants were obtained, twice, by three examiners. Examiners placed 13 markers on the subjects before photography and chose 16 points on the photographic images. Using the PosturePrint internet computer system, head, rib cage, and pelvic postures were calculated as rotations (Rx, Ry, Rz) in degrees and translations (Tx, Tz) in millimeters. For reliability, two different types (liberal = ICC(3,1) & conservative = ICC(2,1)) of inter- and intra-examiner correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated. Standard error of measurements (SEM) and mean absolute differences within and between observers' measurements were also determined.
Results: All of the "liberal" ICCs were in the excellent range (> 0.84). For the more "conservative" type ICCs, four Inter-examiner ICCs were in the interval (0.5-0.6), 10 ICCs were in the interval (0.61-0.74), and the remainder were greater than 0.75. SEMs were 2.7 degrees or less for all rotations and 5.9 mm or less for all translations. Mean absolute differences within examiners and between examiners were 3.5 degrees or less for all rotations and 8.4 mm or less for all translations.
Conclusion: For the PosturePrint system, the combined inter-examiner and intra-examiner correlation coefficients were in the good (14/44) and excellent (30/44) ranges. SEMs and mean absolute differences within and between examiners' measurements were small. Thus, this posture digitizer is reliable for clinical use.