Article Abstract

Patient and radiographer assessment of slump sitting flexion compared to conventional standing forward bending flexion

Authors: Hwee Weng Dennis Hey, Denise Ai Wen Choong, Adrian Zhigao Lin, Eugene Tze-Chun Lau, Alex Quok An Teo, Gabriel Liu, Hee-Kit Wong


Background: A comparative survey from patients and radiographers of the new slump sitting flexion posture and the conventional standing forward bending posture. This study was performed to compare the technical and logistical aspects of the slump sitting versus the forward bending posture. Slump sitting flexes the lumbar spine more than the forward bending and increases the diagnosis rate of sagittal spinal instability up to 40% depending on the diagnostic criteria used. This should not come at the expense of patient safety and comfort nor burden the radiographers.
Methods: Sixty patients were recruited from a single tertiary spine centre. Patients were block randomised into two groups with either the forward bending or the slump sitting being performed first. Feedback was obtained through self-administered questionnaires from patients regarding perceived safety, convenience and comfort, plus from radiographers regarding the imaging process, proxy measures of radiographer ability and scan difficulty.
Results: There was no significant difference between the baseline characteristics in both groups. Majority (63%) of patients preferred slump sitting and felt that forward bending caused pain (P=0.025). Overall, slump sitting was equivalent in comfort, perceived safety and ease to forward bending. Despite requiring more logistics (P=0.031), more effort to set up (P=0.002) and explain (P=0.012), the majority of radiographers (83%) preferred slump sitting. This method was felt to be less dangerous (P=0.015) and easier to maintain (P<0.001).
Conclusions: This study showed that the superiority of slump sitting in allowing more lumbar flexion compared to the forward bending comes with patient safety or comfort. The technical demands of the learning curve can be offset with training. As such, slump sitting flexion views should be adopted as the standardized method for assessing spinal instability.