How should patient be positioned for the initial evaluation of 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 patients with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) have associated injuries. In this setting, assessment and treatment of airway, respiration, and circulation (ABCs) takes precedence.

The patient is best treated initially in the supine position. Occasionally, the patient may have been transported prone by the prehospital care providers. Logrolling the patient to the supine position is safe to facilitate diagnostic evaluation and treatment. Use analgesics appropriately and aggressively to maintain the patient's comfort if he or she has been lying on a hard backboard for an extended period.


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