What is included in prehospital care for spinal cord injury (SCI)?

Updated: Nov 01, 2018
  • Author: Lawrence S Chin, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Answer

Most prehospital care providers recognize the need to stabilize and immobilize the spine on the basis of mechanism of injury, pain in the vertebral column, or neurologic symptoms. Patients are usually transported to the emergency department (ED) with a cervical hard collar on a hard backboard. Commercial devices are available to secure the patient to the board.

The patient should be secured so that in the event of emesis, the backboard may be rapidly rotated 90° while the patient remains fully immobilized in a neutral position. Spinal immobilization protocols should be standard in all prehospital care systems.


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