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Emerg Med J. 2011 Oct;28(10):873-6. doi: 10.1136/emj.2009.089508. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Validation of the Canadian c-spine rule in the UK emergency department setting.

Author information

1
Emergency Department, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Queens Medical Centre Campus, Derby Road, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK. frank.coffey@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

AIM:

To determine the potential of the Canadian Cervical Spine Rule (CCR) to safely reduce the number of cervical spine (c-spine) radiographs performed in the UK emergency department setting.

METHODS:

The study was conducted in two UK emergency departments with a combined annual attendance of >150,000 adult patients. Over the 24 month trial period, 148 doctors were provided training in the use of the CCR and instructed to assess eligible patients presenting with potential c-spine injury. Doctors were instructed to manage patients according to existing practice and not according to the decision obtained from the rule. A subsample of patients was reassessed by a second doctor to test interobserver reliability.

RESULTS:

A total of 1420 patients were enrolled in the study (50.4% male). 987 (69.5%) had c-spine radiography performed, with 8 (0.6%) having a c-spine injury. If the decision for radiography had been made according to the outcome of the CCR, only 815 (57.4%) would have had c-spine radiography and all 8 abnormal cases would have undergone imaging. Doctors were comfortable using the rule in 91% of cases. Interobserver reliability was good (κ=0.75 95% CI 0.44 to 1.06).

CONCLUSION:

The CCR can be applied successfully in the UK. Had the CCR been in use during the study period, a 17.4% reduction in radiography could have been achieved without compromising patient care.

PMID:
21068171
DOI:
10.1136/emj.2009.089508
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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