The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has released its long-awaited guidelines on the care of patients with spine injuries. The new resource provides trauma centers with practical guidance on evaluating and managing both spinal column fracture and spinal cord injury patients.

The new guidelines document is available here: Spine Injury Best Practices Guidelines.

“The recently released ACS TQP Spine Injury Best Practices Guidelines was developed from evidence-based literature and expert input from leaders in the fields of neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery,” according to an ACS press release.

The new guidelines cover key factors in the initial evaluation of the spine, injury classification and management, and the care of the spinal cord injured patient. Specific topics include:

  • Neurogenic shock and systemic pressure-directed therapy
  • Pharmacologic management of spinal cord injury
  • Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis
  • Spinal shock
  • Spinal cord injury-induced bradycardia
  • Ventilator management in high spinal cord injury
  • Placement of tracheostomy following cervical stabilization
  • Analgesia in spinal cord injury
  • Avoidance of associated symptoms of spinal cord injury
  • Neurogenic bowel and bladder acute care management
  • Mobilization and rehabilitation for acute traumatic spinal cord injury

In keeping with TQP goals, the Spine Injury Best Practices Guidelines document includes a variety of implementation tools, including a gap analysis tool, PIPS plan recommendations, and a sample education plan matrix.

“The section on implementation suggests how to incorporate the recommendations into each trauma center’s care and the section on integration provides methods for integrating care for spine injury into trauma center performance improvement,” said Christine Cocanour, MD, FACS, chair of the ACS Committee on Trauma’s Best Practices Guidelines Committee. “Overall, I believe that it will improve care for the spine and spinal cord injured patient.”

Dr Ramon REYES, MD,
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