Assessment of chest wall movement following thoracotomy: a systematic review
Thoracotomy is a major cause of respiratory impairment, increasing the risk of postoperative pulmonary complications (PPC). Systems assessing ribcage kinematics may detect changes in chest expansion following thoracotomy and may thus aid in the development of patient-tailored chest physiotherapy. Hence, we aimed to identify studies assessing changes in chest wall movement following thoracotomy using objective measures. The Cochrane library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus and Web of Science databases were searched to find relevant articles providing an objective assessment of chest wall movement following thoracotomy. Methodological quality of included studies concerning chest wall movement following thoracotomy was assessed by use of QUADAS-2 tool. A total of 12 articles were included for the assessment of chest wall changes following thoracotomy using objective measures. Four studies measured changes in the cross-sectional area of the ribcage and abdomen using the respiratory inductive plethysmography (RIP), 1 study computed the chest wall compliance by monitoring the intra-pleural pressure, 3 studies measured changes in chest circumference with a simple tape measure and 4 articles performed a compartmental analysis of the chest wall volume by means of an optoelectronic plethysmography (OEP). There was no delay in the collection of data of the index test and reference standard, resulting in a low risk of bias for the flow and timing domain. Across all studies, participants underwent the same reference standard, resulting in a low risk of verification bias. Several objective measures were able to detect changes in chest wall displacement following thoracotomy and differed in the practical use and invasive nature. OEP allows a compartmental analysis of the chest wall volume. Hence, this system allows to assess chest wall movement changes following thoracotomy and the impact of different types of surgical approach. Furthermore, it could aid in the development of tailored physiotherapy.