Immobilization and Splinting in Mountain Rescue. Official recommendations of the International Commission for Mountain Emergency Medicine ICAR MEDCOM, intended for mountain rescue first responders, physicians, and rescue organizations
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Immobilization and splinting of fractures are essential to reduce morbidity and mortality in mountain rescue. Therefore, members of the International Commission for Mountain Emergency Medicine (ICAR MEDCOM) debated the results of a literature review carried out by the authors. Focusing on common immobilization and splinting techniques relevant to mountain rescue, a consensus document was formulated. Pain relief of appropriate speed of onset and strength should be available on scene. Spinal immobilization is recommended for all casualties that have sustained head or spine injury. The preferred method is a vacuum mattress with an appropriately sized rigid cervical collar. In such casualties, only those in an unsafe environment or with time-critical injuries should be evacuated before spinal immobilization is performed. In some casualties, the cervical spine may be cleared and a cervical collar may be omitted. In the presence of hemodynamic instability and where there is a suspicion of a fractured pelvis, an external compression splint should be applied. Splinting of a femoral shaft fracture is important to limit pain and life-threatening blood loss. If time allows, extremity fractures should be adequately splinted and, if the practitioner is skilled, a displaced fracture or joint dislocation should be reduced on scene with the use of appropriate analgesia.
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