How is an accurate and reliable height assessment determined in the evaluation of short stature?

Updated: Jan 06, 2021
  • Author: Sunil Kumar Sinha, MD; Chief Editor: Robert P Hoffman, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Endocrinologists rely heavily on accurate and reliable height assessment.

  • Measure standing height in triplicate using a calibrated wall-mounted stadiometer.

    • Although no particular brand is endorsed, one well-accepted device is available from Harpenden Ltd of Wales (see image below).

      Proper use of a wall-mounted stadiometer. Proper use of a wall-mounted stadiometer.
    • In infants, length is determined in triplicate using a tabletop recumbent stadiometer.

    • The mean value of the triplicate data serves as the true measurement.

  • In children who cannot completely stand or recline (eg, those with spina bifida, those with contractures), arm span provides a reliable alternative for longitudinal assessment of long bone growth.

    • Ascertain arm span by facing the child against a flat firm surface (usually the wall), fully extending the arms, and measuring the maximal distance between the tips of the middle fingers.

    • If this positioning is physically impossible, a flexible tape measure may be rolled along the dorsal aspect of the arms and upper back to determine arm span.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!