Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.See all posts »
SAM Splint versus Philadelphia Collar
Healthy volunteers participated in the study. A goniometer was used to measure degrees of maximal extension (bending the neck backwards) and lateral motion (left and right) with each type of collar. After data analysis, it was concluded that the results of this study suggest that the SAM Splint, when molded into a cervical collar, is as effective as the Philadelphia collar at limiting movement of the cervical spine.
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.
Tags: SAM Splint, Philadelphia collar, cervical spine immobilization, wilderness medicine, outdoor medicine, healthline</a
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