Are scoop stretchers suitable for use on spine-injured patients?

Am J Emerg Med. 2010 Sep;28(7):751-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2009.03.014. Epub 2010 Feb 25.


Introduction: In the prehospital setting, spine-injured patients must be transferred to a spine board to immobilize the spine. This can be accomplished using both manual techniques and mechanical devices.

Objectives: The study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the scoop stretcher to limit cervical spine motion as compared to 2 commonly used manual transfer techniques.

Methods: Three-dimensional angular motion generated across the C5-C6 spinal segment during execution of 2 manual transfer techniques and the application of a scoop stretcher was recorded first on cadavers with intact spines and then repeated after C5-C6 destabilization. A 3-dimensional electromagnetic tracking device was used to measure the maximum angular and linear motion produced during all test sessions.

Results: Although not statistically significant, the execution of the log roll maneuver created more motion in all directions than either the lift-and-slide technique or with scoop stretcher application. The scoop stretcher and lift-and-slide techniques were able to restrict motion to a comparable degree.

Conclusion: The effectiveness of the scoop stretcher to limit spinal motion in the destabilized spine is comparable or better than manual techniques currently being used by primary responders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Cervical Vertebrae* / injuries
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Immobilization / instrumentation
  • Moving and Lifting Patients / instrumentation*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotation
  • Safety
  • Spinal Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Spinal Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Spinal Injuries* / prevention & control
  • Transportation of Patients / methods