Monday, December 12, 2011

SAM Splint versus Commercial Cervical Collar

In an issue of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (Volume 20, Number 2, 2009), Todd McGrath and Crystal Murphy have written an article entitled “Comparison of a SAM Splint-Molded Cervical Collar with a Philadelphia Collar.” 

   The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a SAM Splint molded into a cervical collar with that of a Philadelphia collar (commonly used by paramedics and others to hold a neck motionless during transport after an accident) at limiting movement of the cervical spine (neck) in a variety of common predicted directions of motion.

   This is good news for rescuers, backpackers, athletic medical responders and others who have occasion to splint an injured or potentially injured neck in the field. I have used SAM Splints to fashion cervical collars for many years, because my observations were that it could be quickly configured into a reliable and functional splint for this purpose, so it is nice to have my suspicions confirmed. There is certainly nothing wrong with using a (preferably, lightweight) Philadelphia collar or other similar pre-molded appliance to maintain a neck motionless when necessary. The general considerations will be space, weight, ease of use, and adaptability to a variety of patient sizes and conditions. Furthermore, it cannot be overemphasized that if you wish to use a SAM Splint or any other rescue product in the outdoors for which operator skill and experience are required, you should take the time to practice beforehand in a controlled and non-frenetic environment.

More information can be found at Remote Medicine Ireland.

original article

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