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27.04.2019 | Original Article

Analysis of cervical spine immobilization during patient transport in emergency medical services

Zeitschrift:
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Autoren:
Philip Christian Nolte, Davut Deniz Uzun, David Häske, Jeronimo Weerts, Matthias Münzberg, Adrian Rittmann, Paul Alfred Grützner, Michael Kreinest

Abstract

Purpose

It remains controversial how to immobilize the cervical spine (CS) in trauma patients. Therefore, we analyzed different CS immobilization techniques during prehospital patient transport.

Methods

In this explorative, biomechanical analysis of immobilization techniques conducted in a standardized setting, we recorded CS motion during patient transport using a wireless human motion tracker on a volunteer. To interpret spinal movement a benchmark called motionscore (MS) was developed based on biomechanics of the injured spine.

Results

We found the best spinal motion restriction using a spine board, head blocks and immobilization straps with and without a cervical collar (CC) (MS 45 vs. 27). Spinal motion restriction on a vacuum mattress with CC and head blocks was superior to no CC or head blocks (MS 103 vs. 152). An inclined vacuum mattress was more effective with head blocks than without (MS 124 vs. 187). Minimal immobilization with an ambulance cot, CC, pillow and tape was slightly superior to a vacuum mattress with CC and head blocks (MS 92 vs. 103). Minimal immobilization without CC showed the lowest spinal motion restriction (MS 517).

Conclusions

We suggest an immobilization procedure customized to the individual situation. A spine board should be used whenever spinal motion restriction is indicated and the utilization is possible. In some cases, CS immobilization by a vacuum mattress with CC and head blocks could be more beneficial. In an unstable status of the patient, minimal immobilization may be performed using an ambulance cot, pillow, CC and tape to minimize time on scene caused by immobilization.

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