EMCrit Blog: the diagnosis of c-spine injuries

In the news podcast episode, EMCrit Blog discussed the diagnosis of c-spine injuries.


We argue that we should not send patients to imaging unless we have used the NEXUS rule and then added the Canadian C-spine Rule to the sequence. If we are imaging, it should be with a 3-view reconstructed CT scan. And even after that is done, you still need a clearance exam before removing the collar.

The folks from Virginia think (J Trauma. 2011 Apr;70(4):829-31. & J Trauma2011;70(4):829-831) Nexus can’t be used, but I think if you follow my advice in the podcast, you are probably going to come as close to 100% as a rule can provide. The Canadians also showed less than 100% Sens when using NEXUS (N Engl J Med. 2003 Dec 25;349(26):2510-8), but I would make the same argument–did they really do it the same as the NEXUS study advocates? Do you do it the same? If not, you may be missing injuries.

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