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Patient experience of spinal immobilisation after trauma

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BACKGROUND: Spinal immobilisation of blunt trauma victims with potential spinal cord injury is considered standard of care. The traditional management has, however, been increasingly questioned and concerns about harm have been raised. Few studies have described the perspective of the trauma patient regarding the spinal immobilisation. The objective of this study was therefore to evaluate the patient experience of immobilisation after trauma.

METHODS: We prospectively screened adult trauma patients admitted to a level 1 trauma centre for eligibility. We included adult trauma patients who had been, and remembered being, immobilised for spinal protection with a cervical collar and a spine board prehospitally or upon arrival at the trauma centre. A semi-structured interview was conducted 2 to 72 h after admission either in person or by telephone.

RESULTS: One hundred and fourteen patients were eligible for inclusion based on the patient charts. Out of 98 patients assessed for participation, 48 (49%) had no memory of being immobilised. We thus included 50 patients with a median age of 37 years (IQR: 26-60) of whom 38 (76%) were men. The median injury severity score was 9 (IQR: 3-15) and the median time with a cervical collar from initial application to in-hospital removal or until the interview was given was 91 min (IQR: 72-136). Nineteen patients (38%) reported discomfort and 12 patients (24%) experienced pain related to the immobilisation. Forty patients (80%) reported a sense of protection related to the immobilisation.

CONCLUSION: Discomfort related to spinal immobilisation was reported in 38% of trauma patients. However, a sense of protection was a recurring theme in 80% of the trauma patients, who recalled being immobilised. Nearly half of the awake trauma patients had no memory of being immobilised.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Volume27
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)70
ISSN1757-7241
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2019

ID: 57710733