Background: Currently, up to 25% of patients with spinal cord injuries may experience neurologic deterioration during the initial management of their injuries. Therefore, more effective procedures need to be established for the transportation and care of these to reduce the risk of secondary neurologic damage. Here, we present more acceptable methods to minimize motion in the unstable spine during the management of patients with traumatic spine injuries.
Methods: This review summarizes more than a decade of research aimed at evaluating different methods of caring for patients with spine trauma.
Results: The most commonly utilized technique to transport spinal cord injured patients, the log rolling maneuver, produced more motion than placing a patient on a spine board, removing a spine board, performing continuous lateral therapy, and positioning a patient prone for surgery. Alternative maneuvers that produced less motion included the straddle lift and slide, 6 + lift and slide, scoop stretcher, mechanical kinetic therapy, mechanical transfers, and the use of the operating table to rotate the patient to the prone position for surgical stabilization.
Conclusions: The log roll maneuver should be removed from the trauma response guidelines for patients with suspected spine injuries, as it creates significantly more motion in the unstable spine than the readily available alternatives. The only exception is the patient who is found prone, in which case the patient should then be log rolled directly on to the spine board utilizing a push technique.
Keywords: Cervical spine; emergency; pre-hospital management; spinal cord injury.