Posted by Matthew Mac Partlin on Monday, February 27, 2012

Courtesy of Cliff Reid's Resus.ME blog, here's an interesting article (Emerg Med J. 2012 Feb;29(2):104-7) that questions the added value of applying a hard c-spine collar to a trauma victim who is already secured on a spine board with head blocks and strapping. Balanced against the apparent lack of benefit is the potential for harm due to a greater limitation of mouth opening while a hard collar is in situ; though conventional practice would be to open or remove the collar during intubation. There is also harm from prolonged duration of hard collar placement and potential injury from misapplication of a hard collar.

That said, the study is a very small trial conducted using 10 healthy volunteers in a quasi-lab setting. It is relevant to motorsport medicine, as the trial is aimed at the trauma transport population.

Check out the article abstract and vigourous discussion on Cliff's blog here: