Table 5

Author, date and countryPatient groupStudy type (level of evidence)OutcomesKey resultsStudy weaknesses
Lovell ME and Evans JH, 1994, UK30 healthy volunteersObservationalInterface pressureVacuum stretcher interface pressure was 36.7 mm Hg while the pressure with spinal board was 115.5 mm HgSmall numbers
7 different support surfaces
Main PW and Lovell ME, 1996, UK4 healthy volunteersObservationalInterface pressureVacuum splint most comfortable p=<0.001Only 4 subjects used in study
7 different support surfaces
Johnson DR et al, 1996, USA30 paramedic studentsPRCTDegree of immobilisationNo significant difference in immobilisationSmall numbers
Collar + vacuum splint v collar + backboard v vacuum splint only v backboard onlyComfortVacuum splint more comfortable p=<0.001No trauma patient
Speed of applicationFast application with vacuum splint p=<0.001
Hamilton RS and Pons PT, 1996, USA26 healthy volunteersPRCTDegree of immobilisationSignificant increase in immobilisationSmall numbers
No trauma patient included
Cervical collar + backboard v backboard v cervical collar + vacuum splint v vacuum splintEfficacy and comfortEfficacy and comfort with vacuum splint p<0.05
Chan D et al, 1996, USA37 healthy volunteersPRCTPainSignificant more pain in spinal board group. P<0.001Small numbers
Neck collar + backboard v neck collar + vacuum mattressStudy on healthy volunteers, no trauma patient