Research methods: anthropometry

Laboratory and instrumental methods of research of the patient are extremely diverse, and in recent years their number has been continuously increasing. Unlike the basic methods (questioning, inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation), these methods, based on the achievements of modern physics, chemistry, biology and related sciences, require additional, more or less complex tools or equipment (thermometers, electrocardiographs, X-ray equipment, laboratory equipment, etc.) and specially trained medical personnel (laboratory technicians, technicians, laboratory physicians, radiologists, etc.).

Widespread use in the clinical and research practice of laboratory and instrumental methods of research allows deeper study of the disease, discover new, previously unknown diseases, and most importantly carry out earlier diagnosis of diseases, without which their timely treatment is impossible. Laboratory and instrumental methods of research were sometimes referred to as additional, because they are not used in all cases and only after examining the patient using basic methods. However, being widely introduced into medical practice, some of them turned out to be so important and valuable for diagnosis that, without their use, a doctor often cannot establish an accurate diagnosis of the disease with sufficient confidence. The following articles (see below) set forth only the general principles of laboratory and instrumental methods of investigation.


Anthropometry (from the Greek anthropos - man and metron - measure) is a research technology based on measuring the morphological and functional characteristics of a patient. In the tasks of practical medicine (we are talking about clinical anthropometry), it is sufficient to measure a relatively small number of signs; however, the key features are patient height and body weight.

The height of a person depends on the size of the bone skeleton. To measure growth, use a stadiometer. Normally, a man's height varies from 165 to 180 cm, women - from 155 to 170 cm. Deviation from the average normal values ​​of growth towards both their increase and decrease is associated with dysfunction of the endocrine glands. Thus, dwarf growth may be due to a decrease in the function of the anterior pituitary gland (nanism) or the thyroid gland (cretinism). Gigantism can be associated either with impaired function of the anterior pituitary gland or with a decrease in the activity of the sex glands.

The height meter is a vertical wooden or metal plank with a height of 2 m, reinforced on a stand, with centimeter markings on it and with a freely sliding horizontal plate. To measure the torso, the height meter has a special folding seat on which the patient sits, and a second scale of centimeter divisions, starting from the level of the upper surface of the seat. To measure height, the patient stands on a stand of a height meter (without shoes), straightening up, closely pressing his back to his vertical bar; the head should also be straightened so that the upper edge of the external auditory canal and the outer corner of the eye are on the same horizontal line. Then the tablet height meter down to touch with the patient's head and fix its position relative to the scale of the height meter.

Then the patient is asked to step off the stand of the stadiometer, and according to the position of the plate on the scale, its growth is noted. To measure the length of the body, the patient sits on the folding seat of the stadiometer, also closely pressed his back to his vertical bar. Then using the tablet determine the length of the body according to the same rules as the growth.

Measuring growth and torso length is of great importance for assessing both the patient’s physical development and the proportionality of the development of individual parts of his body, which can be disrupted in a number of congenital (for example, chondrodystrophy) and acquired diseases occurring from childhood.

In addition to measuring growth and torso length, the circumference of the chest, abdomen, neck, head, lower limbs, the size of the pelvis, as well as individual organs determined by percussion are often measured. The technique and significance of the main measurements indicated will be given in the respective chapters.

And this is even more interesting:

  1. Research methods: anthropometry II
  2. Research methods: endoscopy and biopsy
  3. Research methods: temperature curve
  4. Laboratory research methods
  5. Research methods: body thermometry