Early management of cervical spine injuries

Postgrad Med. 1982 Jun;71(6):164-71. doi: 10.1080/00325481.1982.11716100.


At the scene of an accident with possible injury to the cervical spine, management should focus on life support and prevention of further injury. On arrival of the patient in the emergency department, three standard x-ray films should be obtained in search of the abnormalities in soft tissues, alignment, and joints that indicate cervical spine injury and a thorough neurologic assessment should be performed. The potential of cord injuries to deteriorate makes careful monitoring of blood gases, urine output, and blood pressure imperative during this period. Early therapy with steroids and mannitol seems to minimize neurologic deterioration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Atlanto-Occipital Joint / injuries
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Child
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • First Aid
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / etiology
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / therapy
  • Immobilization
  • Neck
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Radiography
  • Shock / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis