Date of Award
Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Physician Assistant Education
Immobilizing the cervical spine is the standard of care in the United States to prevent exacerbating unstable spinal fractures resulting in permanent neurological deficits. Current spinal protocols liberally place collars on trauma patients although retrospective studies on these guidelines have revealed multiple negative consequences of prolonged scene times and immobilization on patient outcomes. There are limited studies in the United States about the consequences of not taking spinal precautions because there is a fear of not immobilizing a patient and causing permanent neurologic deficits. However, the few studies that are available demonstrate that collars are not beneficial. Spinal protocols should attempt to target unstable spinal fractures and research should continue to analyze the effectiveness of protocols until cervical spine precautions are standardized and supported by evidence-based medicine.
Crouch, Kaitlyn, "Consequences of Cervical Spine Immobilization in Prehospital Trauma Patients" (2020). Physician Assistant Program Capstones. 52.