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JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Prehospital use of cervical collars in trauma patients: a critical review

Terje Sundstrøm, Helge Asbjørnsen, Samer Habiba, Geir Arne Sunde, Knut Wester
Journal of Neurotrauma 2014 March 15, 31 (6): 531-40
23962031
The cervical collar has been routinely used for trauma patients for more than 30 years and is a hallmark of state-of-the-art prehospital trauma care. However, the existing evidence for this practice is limited: Randomized, controlled trials are largely missing, and there are uncertain effects on mortality, neurological injury, and spinal stability. Even more concerning, there is a growing body of evidence and opinion against the use of collars. It has been argued that collars cause more harm than good, and that we should simply stop using them. In this critical review, we discuss the pros and cons of collar use in trauma patients and reflect on how we can move our clinical practice forward. Conclusively, we propose a safe, effective strategy for prehospital spinal immobilization that does not include routine use of collars.

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