• Prehospital clearance of the cervical spine: does it need to be a pain in the neck?

      Armstrong, B.P.; Simpson, H.K.; Crouch, Robert; Deakin, Charles (2007-07)
      Prehospital cervical spine (c-spine) immobilisation is common, despite c-spine injury being relatively rare. Unnecessary immobilisation results in a significant burden on limited prehospital and emergency department (ED) resources. This study aimed to determine whether the incidence of unnecessary c-spine immobilisation by ambulance personnel could be safely reduced through the implementation of an evidence-based algorithm. Following a training programme, complete forms on 103 patients were identified during the audit period, of which 69 (67%) patients had their c-spines cleared at scene. Of these, 60 (87%) were discharged at scene, with no clinical adverse events reported, and 9 (13%) were taken to the local ED with non-distracting minor injuries, all being discharged home the same day. 34 (33%) patients could not have their c-spines safely cleared at scene according to the algorithm. Of these, 4 (12%) patients self-discharged at scene and 30 (88%) were conveyed to an ED as per the normal procedure. C-spine clearance at scene by ambulance personnel may have positive impacts on patient care, efficient use of resources and cost to healthcare organisations. https://emj.bmj.com/content/24/7/501 This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2006.041897