Ultrasound Assessment of the Rectus Femoris Cross-Sectional Area: Subject Position Implications

Eileen Hacker, Tara Peters, Miglena Garkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Ultrasonic measurement of the rectus femoris (RF) is a novel, proxy measure for muscle strength. The impact of hip flexion/head of bed positioning on RF cross-sectional area (CSA) has not been fully explored. This study describes and compares differences in RF CSA across four degrees of hip flexion. This repeated-measures, comparative study enrolled healthy, pre-menopausal women (n = 20). RF CSA of the dominant leg was measured using the SonoSite M-Turbo ultrasound system with the head of bed at 0°, 20°, 30°, and 60°. One-way repeated measures indicated significant differences in RF CSA, F(3, 17) = 14.18, p <.001, with variation in hip flexion/head of bed elevation and significant RF CSA differences between: (a) 0° and 20°, (b) 0° and 30°, (c) 0° and 60°, and (d) 20° and 60°. Standardizing patient positioning when conducting ultrasonic measurement of RF CSA is vital for researchers who assess muscle mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1221-1230
Number of pages10
JournalWestern Journal of Nursing Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • methodological inquiry
  • mobility
  • muscle strength testing
  • musculoskeletal
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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