Ultrasonographic measurement of diaphragm thickness in patients with severe thoracic scoliosis



This study aimed to measure diaphragm thickness using ultrasound in adult patients with severe idiopathic scoliosis.


This prospective case–control study included patients with severe idiopathic scoliosis and a healthy control group. The control and patient groups’ demographic features, pulmonary function tests, diaphragm thickness, and thickening fraction measured using ultrasonography were compared.


End-expirium values were similar between the two groups (p = 0.902). However, end of inspirium, change level, and diaphragm thickening fraction were significantly lower in the scoliosis group (p < 0.001 for all). Cobb degree values were inversely correlated with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (%) (r =  − 0.909, p < 0.001), forced vital capacity (%) (r =  − 0.887, p < 0.001), and end-inspirium thickness (r =  − 0.673 and p < 0.001) values. Furthermore, diaphragm thickness at the end of inspirium was positively correlated with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (%) (r = 0.636, p = 0.001) and forced vital capacity (%) (r = 0.646, p = 0.001) values. No significant correlation was found between diaphragm thickening fraction and forced expiratory volume in 1 s or forced vital capacity.


Ultrasound can provide valuable information about diaphragm morphology and quantify diaphragm contraction.

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This study received no funding.

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Correspondence to Evren Karaali.

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Karaali, E., Çiloğlu, O., Görgülü, F.F. et al. Ultrasonographic measurement of diaphragm thickness in patients with severe thoracic scoliosis. J Ultrasound (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40477-020-00536-w

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  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound
  • Pulmonary function
  • Cobb angle