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Review of existing measurement tools to assess spinal motion during prehospital immobilization

Weerts, Jeronimo O.N.a; Schier, Larsb; Schmidt, Hendrika; Kreinest, Michaelb

European Journal of Emergency Medicine: June 2018 - Volume 25 - Issue 3 - p 161–168
doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000467

The quantification of spinal movement to investigate the efficacy of prehospital immobilization devices and techniques remains difficult. Therefore, we aim to systematically review the literature on reported measurement tools applicable within this research field. A keyword literature search of relevant articles was performed using the database of PubMed including international literature published in English between January 2010 and December 2015. Only studies describing methods applicable to estimate spinal movement during prehospital immobilization were included. Six measurement tools were found that have either been used (goniometer/inclinometer, imaging modalities, electromagnetic systems, and optoelectronic systems) or have the potential to be used (inertial measurement units and a combination of strain gauge technology and accelerometers) in this research field. Novel devices can assess spinal motion during prehospital care including extrication, application of immobilization devices, and transportation from the site of the accident to the final destination, and therefore can be considered for usage.

aJulius Wolff Institute, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin

bDepartment of Trauma Surgery and Orthopedics, BG Trauma Center Ludwigshafen, Ludwigshafen, Germany

Correspondence to Dr Hendrik Schmidt, Julius Wolff Institute, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany Tel: +49 30 2093 46016; fax: +49 30 2093 46001; e-mail:

Received November 6, 2016

Accepted March 29, 2017

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