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The ‘Necksafe’ head articulation control system: a novel cervical immobilisation device
  1. Alison Sparke1,
  2. Karina Torlei2,
  3. Sarah Voss3,
  4. Mike Page1,
  5. Jonathan Benger3,4,
  6. Ed Matthews2,
  7. Michael Hillman5,
  8. Darren Hart6,
  9. Ella McLaughlin7,
  10. Jane Carter6,
  11. Nigel Harris5
  1. 1South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK
  2. 2Royal College of Art, London, UK
  3. 3University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
  4. 4Academic Department of Emergency Care, Emergency Department, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK
  5. 5Bath Institute of Medical Engineering, Bath, UK
  6. 6Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath, UK
  7. 7University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jonathan Benger, Academic Department of Emergency Care, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, BS2 8HW, UK; Jonathan.Benger{at}UHBristol.nhs.uk

Abstract

Introduction The early application of a semirigid disposable cervical collar following trauma is considered a routine practice. The aim of these devices is to immobilise the cervical spine and minimise the risk of additional neurological damage. However, these collars provide only partial immobilisation, are uncomfortable and are associated with a number of complications. Our team designed and tested a novel cervical immobilisation device that aims to improve immobilisation with reduced complications: the ‘Necksafe’.

Methods Human volunteers were recruited and consented to test the novel Necksafe device in comparison with a conventional collar (the AMBU Perfit ACE) in a range of evaluations. These included assessments of the cervical range of movement (CROM) that occurred during scripted movements of the head and neck, and the effect of the new and conventional devices on jugular vein dimensions, assessed using ultrasound scanning.

Results CROM analysis showed that, under standardised testing conditions, the Necksafe device offers cervical immobilisation that is at least equivalent to a conventional collar, and is superior in the planes of extension, lateral flexion and rotation. Ultrasound examination of the jugular veins was inconclusive and did not reveal any differences in jugular venous diameter or flow. Qualitative feedback from ambulance paramedics was highly supportive of the new design, suggesting that it is more comfortable, easier to fit, less confining and better tolerated than a conventional collar, with improved immobilisation effectiveness.

Conclusions The results of quantitative and qualitative testing are highly supportive of the new Necksafe design, with improved cervical immobilisation, comfort and access to the airway.

  • Trauma, Spine and Pelvis
  • Trauma, Research
  • Basic Ambulance Care

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