New clinical guidelines on the spinal stabilisation of adult trauma patients - consensus and evidence based

Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2019 Aug 19;27(1):77. doi: 10.1186/s13049-019-0655-x.


Traumatic spinal cord injury is a relatively rare injury in Denmark but may result in serious neurological consequences. For decades, prehospital spinal stabilisation with a rigid cervical collar and a hard backboard has been considered to be the most appropriate procedure to prevent secondary spinal cord injuries during patient transportation. However, the procedure has been questioned in recent years, due to the lack of high-quality studies supporting its efficacy. A national interdisciplinary task force was therefore established to provide updated clinical guidelines on prehospital procedures for spinal stabilisation of adult trauma patients in Denmark. The guidelines are based on a systematic review of the literature and grading of the evidence, in addition to a standardised consensus process.This process yielded five main recommendations:A strong recommendation against spinal stabilisation of patients with isolated penetrating trauma; a weak recommendation against the prehospital use of a rigid cervical collar and a hard backboard for ABCDE-stable patients; and a weak recommendation for the use of a vacuum mattress for patient transportation. Finally, our group recommends the use of our clinical algorithm to ensure good clinical practice.

Keywords: Blunt trauma; Guideline; Immobilisation; Penetrating trauma; Rigid cervical collar; Spinal stabilisation; Spineboard; Trauma; Traumatic spinal cord injury; Vacuum mattress.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Denmark
  • Evidence-Based Emergency Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Immobilization
  • Moving and Lifting Patients
  • Orthotic Devices
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy*
  • Stretchers
  • Triage
  • Wounds, Penetrating / complications