Spinal Injury

Description: This guideline replaces the Neck and Back Trauma guideline.- Immobilise the whole spine until it is positively cleared.- Immobilise the whole spine in all unconscious blunt trauma patients.- Falls are a frequent cause of SCI in the older person. Maintain a high index of suspicion in cases of older people who have had low energy falls.- If the cervical spine is immobilised, the thoracic and lumbar spine also needs immobilisation.- Asking a patient to self-extricate is acceptable, but is not clearing the cervical spine.- Standard immobilisation is by means of collar (unless contraindicated or counterproductive), head blocks, tape and scoop.- Longboard is solely used as an extrication device, and not for transporting patients to hospital.- Aspiration of vomit, pressure sores and raised intracranial pressure are major complications of immobilisation.- Red flag signs and symptoms of the medical emergency Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) are covered.- A new immobilisation algorithm is presented.
Date Update Posted Online: September 7, 2017
Book: Reference Edition
Section Title: Spinal Injury and Spinal Cord Injury
Guidelines Print Date: September 20, 2017
Back to all 2016 updates