Improvised traction splints: a wilderness medicine tool or hindrance?
To investigate whether a traction splint made from improvised materials is as efficacious as commercially available devices in terms of traction provided and perceived comfort and stability.
This was a prospective randomized crossover study utilizing 10 healthy, uninjured volunteers. The subjects were randomized to be placed in 4 different traction devices, in differing order, each for 30 minutes. Three of the traction splints are commercially available: The HARE, Sager, and Faretech CT-EMS. The fourth traction device was an improvised splint made as described in Medicine for the Backcountry: A Practical Guide to Wilderness First Aid. At the end of 30 minutes the pounds of force created by each device was measured. The volunteers were also asked at that time to subjectively report the comfort and stability of the splint separately on a scale from 1 to 10.
All traction splints performed similarly with regard to the primary outcome measure of mean pounds of traction created at the end of 30 minutes of application with results ranging from 10.4 to 13.3 pounds. There was little difference reported by participants in regard to stability or comfort between the 4 traction devices.
In this small pilot study, an improvised traction splint was not inferior to commercially available devices. Further research in needed in this area.
Department of Emergency Medicine, UCSF-Fresno Medical Education Program, Fresno, CA 93701, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
SourceWilderness & environmental medicine 23:1 2012 Mar pg 61-4
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial