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West J Emerg Med. 2009 May;10(2):74-8.

Cervical spine motion during extrication: a pilot study.

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Washington University School of Medicine, Division of Emergency Department.


Spinal immobilization is one of the most commonly performed pre-hospital procedures. Little research has been done on the movement of the neck during immobilization and extrication. In this study we used a sophisticated infrared six-camera motion-capture system (Motion Analysis Corporation, Santa Rosa, CA), to study the motion of the neck and head during extrication. A mock automobile was constructed to scale, and volunteer patients, with infrared markers on bony prominences, were extricated by experienced paramedics. We found in this pilot study that allowing an individual to exit the car under his own volition with cervical collar in place may result in the least amount of motion of the cervical spine. Further research should be conducted to verify these findings. In addition, this system could be utilized to study a variety of methods of extrication from automobile accidents.


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