EMS spinal precautions and the use of the long backboard-resource document to the position statement of the national association of EMS physicians and the american college of surgeons committee on trauma

Chelsea C. White Iv, Robert M. Domeier, Michael G. Millin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Field spinal immobilization using a backboard and cervical collar has been standard practice for patients with suspected spine injury since the 1960s. The backboard has been a component of field spinal immobilization despite lack of efficacy evidence. While the backboard is a useful spinal protection tool during extrication, use of backboards is not without risk, as they have been shown to cause respiratory compromise, pain, and pressure sores. Backboards also alter a patient's physical exam, resulting in unnecessary radiographs. Because backboards present known risks, and their value in protecting the spinal cord of an injured patient remains unsubstantiated, they should only be used judiciously. The following provides a discussion of the elements of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) and American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS-COT) position statement on EMS spinal precautions and the use of the long backboard. This discussion includes items where there is supporting literature and items where additional science is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-314
Number of pages9
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • Backboards
  • EMS
  • Spinal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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