Impact of clinical decision rules on clinical care of traumatic injuries to the foot and ankle, knee, cervical spine, and head

Injury. 2006 Dec;37(12):1157-65. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2006.07.028. Epub 2006 Oct 31.


Introduction: Traumatic injuries to the ankle/foot, knee, cervical spine, and head are very commonly seen in emergency and accident departments around the world. There has been much interest in the development of clinical decision rules to help guide the investigations of these patients in a standardised and cost-effective manner.

Methods: In this article we reviewed the impact of the Ottawa ankle rules, Ottawa knee rules, Canadian C-spine rule and the Canadian CT head rule.

Results: The studies conducted have confirmed that the use of well developed clinical decision rules results in less radiography, less time spent in the emergency department and does not decrease patient satisfaction or result in misdiagnosis.

Conclusions: Emergency physicians around the world should adopt the use of clinical decision rules for ankle/foot, knee, cervical spine and minor head injuries. With relatively simple implementation strategies, care can be standardized and costs reduced while providing excellent clinical care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnosis*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / standards*
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis
  • Spinal Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Trauma Centers
  • Treatment Outcome