The role of cervical collars and verbal instructions in minimising spinal movement during self-extrication following a motor vehicle collision - a biomechanical study using healthy volunteers

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Abstract

Background: Motor vehicle collisions account for 1.3 million deaths and 50 million serious injuries worldwide each year. However, the majority of people involved in such incidents are uninjured or have injuries which do not prevent them exiting the vehicle. Self-extrication is the process by which a casualty is instructed to leave their vehicle and completes this with minimal or no assistance. Self-extrication may offer a number of patient and system-wide benefits. The efficacy of routine cervical collar application for this group is unclear and previous studies have demonstrated inconsistent results. It is unknown whether scripted instructions given to casualties on how to exit the vehicle would offer any additional utility. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of cervical collars and instructions on spinal movements during self-extrication from a vehicle, using novel motion tracking technology. Methods: Biomechanical data on extrications were collected using Inertial Measurement Units on 10 healthy volunteers. The different extrication types examined were: i) No instructions and no cervical collar, ii) No instructions, with cervical collar, iii) With instructions and no collar, and iv) With instructions and with collar. Measurements were recorded at the cervical and lumbar spine, and in the anteroposterior (AP) and lateral (LAT) planes. Total movement, mean, standard deviation and confidence intervals are reported for each extrication type. Results: Data were recorded for 392 extrications. The smallest cervical spine movements were recorded when a collar was applied and no instructions were given: mean 6.9 mm AP and 4.4 mm LAT. This also produced the smallest movements at the lumbar spine with a mean of 122 mm AP and 72.5 mm LAT. The largest overall movements were seen in the cervical spine AP when no instructions and no collar were used (28.3 mm). For cervical spine lateral movements, no collar but with instructions produced the greatest movement (18.5 mm). For the lumbar spine, the greatest movement was recorded when instructions were given and no collar was used (153.5 mm AP, 101.1 mm LAT). Conclusions: Across all participants, the most frequently occurring extrication method associated with the least movement was no instructions, with a cervical collar in situ.

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APA

Nutbeam, T., Fenwick, R., May, B., Stassen, W., Smith, J. E., Wallis, L., … Shippen, J. (2021). The role of cervical collars and verbal instructions in minimising spinal movement during self-extrication following a motor vehicle collision - a biomechanical study using healthy volunteers. Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, 29(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13049-021-00919-w

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