Early Acute Management in Adults with Spinal Cord Injury: A Clinical Practice Guideline for Health-Care Professionals

This new clinical practice guideline from the Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine is designed to guide health care professionals in trauma centers, ICUs and hospitals in providing care during the first 72 hours after spinal cord injury.

During the first few days after an SCI, when life-saving interventions dominate the care of the spinal cord injured individual, efforts at preserving life, limiting the severity of the injury's effects and improving long-term outcomes are vitally important. This guideline encompasses the myriad disciplines needed to care for a person from the time of injury through the critical first few days of care. The first days after injury are the most crucial in terms of survival, neuroprotection, prevention of secondary complications, and psychosocial adjustment. Survival and preservation of neurological function are dependent on effective systems of immediate care within the first 72 hours of injury - this guideline provides expert recommendations for optimal treatment during this period.

A consumer version of the CPG should be available by the end of 2008. It will be focused on the needs of the family members for those newly injured and will have a FAQ format.

The professional CPG can be downloaded by anyone for free at this URL and can be used to guide family members in asking appropriate questions of the health care providers involved in early care: