Intended for healthcare professionals


Discontinuation of cervical spine immobilisation

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 15 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1307

Immobilisation should not be discontinued in unconscious patients

  1. A M Collier, Specialist registrar in orthopaedicsa
  1. a York District Hospital, York YO3 7HE
  2. b Institute of Child Health, Department of Child Health, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool L12 2AP

    Editor—Gupta and Clancy highlight a common management dilemma, which I have experienced myself, in requests to “clear the cervical spine” in unconscious patients with multiple injuries either in the resuscitation setting or, more commonly, after a period in intensive care.1 The request is often made after the three films recommended for advanced trauma life support have been obtained.2 A response that “the risk of potential for spinal cord injury cannot reasonably be ‘cleared’ until a patient is conscious, cooperative, and controlled in …

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