US 3737923 A
A cervical spine immobilization device employs a rigid board member having movable block members which are adjustable in two directions on the surface of the board. Once the patient's trunk is stabilized on the board, the block members are locked in position adjacent the patient's head to prevent lateral motion and rotation of the patient's head. A sling member is employed under the patient's chin and mastoid processes and is secured to the block members to prevent flexion and extension of the patient's head and neck.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Prolo June 12, 1973 CERVICAL STABILIZATION DEVICE Primar ExaminerCasmir A. Nunber 76 1 t: D 111.1 1 1163C t y g men or 331 i Egg: Calm 2 5 Attorney-Walter J. Madden, Jr.
 Appl. No.: 183,759 A cervical spine immobilization device employs a rigid board member having movable block members which 5 8 5 are adjustable in two directlons on the Surface of S 4:5 13 board. Once the patients trunk is stabilized on the  Fieid "5 82 317 board, the block members are locked in position adjacent the patients head to prevent lateral motion and  References Cited rotation of the patients head. A sling member is em ployed under the patients chin and mastoid processes UNITED STATES PATENTS and is secured to the block members to prevent flexion fieinlfr and extension of the patients head and neck ug es 3,046,982 7/1962 Davis 5/82 x 5 Chums, 6 Drawing Flgures 1 CERVICAL STABILIZATION DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to devices for immobilizing the human head and neck, and relates more particularly to such devices for use in emergency situationsto immobilize the head and neck to prevent injury to the cervical spine.
2. DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Numerous devices have been proposed in the past to perform the function of immobilizing or stabilizing the human head and neck for emergency or surgical purposes. Such devices are extremely important, particularly in emergency situations, in the handling of possible fractures of the cervical spine. In the cases of industrial injuries, automobile accidents and battlefield injuries, it is usually necessary to remove the patient from the injury scene, often under conditions of stress or time pressure, for transportation to medical facilities. This removal is almost always accomplished by personnel which are not medical doctors, although they may have varying amounts of education and training in the handling of injured patients. Further handling and moving of the patient is often required when he arrives at medical facilities, where he may be moved from the ambulance guerney to an emergency room guerney or to a radiology table for x-ray examination.
In all of the above handling and moving, there is a high risk of aggravation of injuries to the cervical spine if the patients head and neck are not properly immobilized or stabilized. v
One prior'art US. Pat. No. 3,469,268, discloses a device including a rigid boardmember having straps attached thereto for attachment to a patient to immobilize the head and neck. The device employs strap members which cross the patients head and are attached to the board to limit movement of the head and neck, in conjunction with a neck pad member which is placed between the patients neck and the board member. While this device is a considerable improvement over those available in the prior art, which art is extensively discussed in US. Pat. No. 3,469,268, it still does not provide a rigid structure for completely preventing lateral motion and rotation of the patients head.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a cervical spine immobilization device comprising a rigid board member to which are movably secured a pair of block members. In one embodiment of the invention, each of these block members is movable limited distances in two directions along the surface of the board member to provide for accommodation of different head sizes and neck lengths of patients. When the board is used, these blocks are adjusted in position until they firmly engage the patients head on each side thereof. They are then clamped in position relative to the board to hold firmly the head and prevent lateral motion and rotation of the head and neck.
A sling member is also employed which passes under the patients chin and mastoid processes in the suboccipital area and is attached to the device, preferably to the block members. This sling, when secured, prevents flexion and extension of the neck of the patient and also exerts some traction.
The board is attached to the patients body by shoulder straps and a waist strap so that the patient may be easily transported with the device in place.
The device is of such a size that it can be placed on a patient in a confined area, such as the seat of s small car or the like, without first requiring removal of the patient from the confined area. Because of its size and configuration, it can be easily stowed in an ambulance so as to be out of the way, such as under the ambulance guerney mattress, while still being readily available for use. Similarly, it may be kept conveniently in a storage area in an emergency room.
The device has the advantage that it may be readily and effectively used by personnel who are not medical doctors, since it requires no attachment to or injection into the human body. It has the further advantage that the structure and location of the block members is such that they do not obstruct the area of the cervical spine for X-ray purposes. Hence, the device may remain on the patient during transportation to the hospital, in the emergency room, and in the radiology area, until X- rays have been taken to determine the presence of cervical spine fractures. This eliminates the need for handling of patients with their neck and head in an unstabilized condition, and thus prevents the possibility of catastrophic injury to the cervical spine during movement of the patient.
The device has the further advantage that the strap members which secure the device to the patients body pass over the shoulder area, thus leaving the chest unencumbered and accessible for external cardiac massage if required.
Objects and advantages other than those set forth above will be apparent from the following description when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS -dance with this invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the rear of the device;
FIG. 3 is an elevation view, with the device at a slight angle to the horizontal, showing particularly the means for attaching the sling member to the blocks; 7
FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the use of the device on a patient;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of an alternate embodiment of the invention employing a single structure for controlling the position of the block members along the length of the board; and
FIG. 6 is an elevation view of the board device shown in FIG. 5.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring to FIG. I, the device shown there includes a generally plane board member 11 which is made of suitable material having sufficient rigidity to perform its function while being reasonably lightweight. Examples of suitable material for board 11 are plywood, lightweight metals, and plastics. Board 11 is provided with openings 12 which serve as convenient handholds for carrying the device. Openings 13 are provided near the bottom of the board for use as handholds and through which passes a strap 16 for securing across the waist area of the patient. Strap 16 may be of any suitable type, such as a Posey belt, which can be adjustably secured around the waist of the patient.
The device also includes a pair of shoulder strap members 17 which pass through openings in board 11 and are positioned so as to be adjustably securable under the arms and across the shoulders of the patient, in a manner similar to a backpack. A pair of skull stabilization blocks 18 are also pro' vided on the board, and these blocks are movable in two directions on the surface of board 11 so that they may be positioned to conform to a variety of different patient head configurations and neck lengths. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, blocks 18 are attached to board 11 by means of bolts 19 which pass through slots 18a in blocks 18 and through slots 11a in board 11. Slots 11a extend longitudinally along board 11 and thus permit adjustment of blocks 18 for a distance along the length of board 11. Slots 18a extend transversely across blocks l8 so as to permit adjustment of the position of the blocks across a portion of the width of board 11. Thus, the combination of slots 11a, 18a permits adjustment of the position of blocks 18 in two directions relative to the surface of board 11.
Blocks 18 may be secured in any desired position by Y tightening wing nuts 19a on bolts 19, thus securing the blocks relative to the surface of board 11. Bolts 19 are retained in slots 11a by making these slots slightly narrower than the head of the bolt. In the embodiment being discussed, slots 11a are formed in a channel member 19b which is-inserted in board 11. Such a construction would be appropriate, for example, where board 11 was constructed of plywood, and channels 19b were of aluminum or other metal to provide a durable guide and bearing surface for bolts 19 without producing undue wear on the plywood. The board is slightly elevated by thin risers 24 to allow the bolts freely to glide on channels 19b.
The device of this invention also includes the use of a sling member which is employed to provide additional immobilization of the patients head and neck. Such a sling may be in the form of a halter traction sling member 21 which includes a pair of restraining or traction-applying members 21a, 21b, and cord members 210 which, when tightened, serve to apply a traction force to the patient through members 21a, 21b. The operation of sling member 21 is best illustrated in FIG. 4,,
where member 21a is shown bearing against the chin of the patient while member 21b bears against the patients mastoid processes in the suboccipital area. After placing Sling 21 on the patient in this manner, cords 21c are secured in a snug fashion, preferably the blocks 18.
One particularly convenient manner of providing for adjustable securing of cords 21c involves the use of devices known as clam cleats" and commonly used in marine application. As best shown in FIG. 3, four such cleats 23 are employed, two of them being mounted on the' top surface of each of blocks I8.'Each cleat is provided with a central channel 23a into which cord 21c may be placed. The interior olchannels 23a is provided with spaced teeth or ribs which engage cord 2lc. The channel teeth are so directed that they readily permit cord 210 to pass thcrethrough in the direction to tighten the sling, but. they prevent movement of the cord through the channel in the opposite direction such as in response to patient pressure against the sling.
Thus, the position of cords 210 in cleats 23, and hence the amount-of pressure or force applied to the patient by sling 21, may be readily adjusted.
To illustrate fully the operation and utility of the device, assume that is is to be employed with a person who is positioned behind the steering wheel of an automobile, such as might occur in an automobile accident. The device is small enough to fit into even a small car, so that it maybe inserted in place behind the injured person. When so positioned, shoulder straps 17 are placed on the patient, as well as waist strap 16. With wing nuts 19a loosened, blocks 18 may be adjusted longitudinally in slots 11a and transversely in slots 18a to engage the patients head in the posterior parietal area above the ears, as shown in FIG. 4. As clearly seen in FIG. 3, the head-engaging portions of blocks 18 are preferably contoured in the general shape of the human, head and are also provided with a layer of cushioning material 18c, such as sponge rubber, to increase the patient comfort. Another cushion 11b attached to board 11 both centers the head and provides comfort to patients occiput.
When blocks 18 have been adjusted to the desired position in contact with the patients head, wing nuts 19a may be tightened on bolts 15 to firmly lock blocks 18 in position relative to board 11. This locking of blocks 18 firmly holds the patients head to prevent any lateral motion or rotation of the head or neck.
To prevent flexion and extension of the head and neck, sling member 21 is then applied, with member 21a applied under the patients chin and member 2112 applied under the mastoid processes in the suboccipital area. Cords 21c of sling 21 are then placed in channels 230 of cleats 23, and the positions of the cords in the cleats is adjusted. Preferably, cords 210 are adjusted in the cleats so that sling 21 is sufficiently tight to prevent any flexion of the head or neck and also to apply some traction to the patient.
The patient may then be removed from the automobile or other injury location, and placed on the ambulance guerney. Upon arrival at the hospital emergency room or other area for medical treatment, the patient may be moved from the ambulance guerney to the emergency room guerney or radiology table, with the device of this invention still attached. Thus, the patient may be moved with the head and neck area firmly immobilized to prevent any possibility of aggravation of cervical spine injuries until the existence or nonexistence of such injuries can be established.
It will also be seen that the device of this invention may be easily and safely applied by personnel without advanced medical training, such as ambulance drivers. Further, the device may be readily and quickly disengaged from the patient by releasing cords 210 in cleats 23 if this should be required, such as in the case of pa tient vomiting or the like.
It will also be noted that the placement of blocks 18 in the posterior parietal areas above the ears, as best seen in FIG. 4, permits unobstructed access to the cervical spine area for X-ray examination or the like. Ad-
ditionally, shoulder straps I7 and waist strap 16 leave nuts 32 are provided on threaded studs mounted on frame 31 so that when the wing nuts are tightened, this clamps frame 31 to board 11. Thus, this permits the frame to be adjusted relative to the length of the board and to be clamped in position at any desired location.
Blocks 18 are mounted on frame 31 and are provided as before with channels 18a through which belts 19 extend to permit lateral adjustment of the position of the blocks on the board and to permit clamping of the blocks in any desired position by means of wing nuts 19a.
Thus, the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6 operates in a manner similar to that described above to allow blocks 18 to be adjusted both vertically and laterally along board 11 to accommodate the patients head, and in conjunction with sling 21, to immobilize firmly the patients head and cervical spine.
It will be apparent that many changes can be made in the embodiments without departing from the spirit of the invention. It will also be clear that several areas of the device, such as the head-engaging portions of blocks 18, the area in which the back of the patients head rests, etc., may be covered with disposable pads or coverings to facilitate keeping the device clean.
What is claimed is:
l. A cervical stabilization device for immobilizing an injured person, comprising:
a rigid board member adapted to be positioned behind a persons head and trunk;
stabilization block members mounted on said board member, said block members being movable in two directions relative to said board members to position said block members in contact with opposite sides of the person s head;
said block members having head-engaging surfaces which are contoured to conform to the general configuration of the human head, said block members having a thickness no greater than the distance fromthe top of the persons head to the posterior parietal area above the persons'ear; and
clamping means for retaining said block members in position relative to said board member after positioning adjacent the persons head to prevent lateral motion or rotation of the persons head and neck.
2. A device in accordance with claim 1 including strap means passing through said board member and adapted to pass over only the shoulder and waist areas of the persons body, and
means for adjusting said strap means relative to the persons body to secure firmly the persons body relative to said board member.
3. A device in accordance with claim 1 in which said clamping means includes a pair of bolt members, each of said bolt members extending through an elongated opening in said board member and through an elongated opening in one of said block members, the elongated openings in said board member permitting movement of said bolt members and said block members in one direction relative to said board member, the elongated openings in said block members permitting movement of said block members in another direction relative to said board member.
4. A device in accordance with claim 1 including sling means adapted to engage selected areas of the person s head and neck; and
means for securing said sling means relative to said board member after engagement with the persons head and neck.
5. A device in accordance with claim 4 in which said securing means includes cleat means mounted on said block members for engaging said sling means;
said sling means including a first portion engageable under the persons chin and a second portion engageable with the rear of the persons head in the suboccipital area, to firmly position the persons head relative to said board to prevent both flexion and extension of the persons neck.