What spinal cord injury equipment might you see?

This will depend on how stable the vertebrae are and the level of the spinal cord injury. Please talk with the nurse or other health care team member if you have any questions about the equipment or why it is being used.

equipment you might see in the hospital with spinal cord injury patients

Spinal cord injury equipment

Anti-embolism stockings (TEDs)
White, elastic stockings used to prevent pooling of blood in the legs and help prevent blood clots
Arterial line
A catheter put into an artery that is used to measure blood pressure and to get blood for testing
Cervical collar
A foam or rigid plastic collar that provides support to the neck and limits neck motion. It is also shown in figures 13, 14, and 15.
Cervical traction
This is to pull the cervical vertebrae back into position. The goal is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. A metal ring (Halo crown) or tongs are attached by pins to the skull. Weights are then attached for traction. Traction cannot repair injury already done to the spinal cord, but it helps to avoid further injury.
EKG lead wires
Wires connected to the chest with small patches that measure heart rate and rhythm
Endotracheal tube
A tube through the nose or mouth into the trachea (windpipe) to help with breathing and suctioning
Fracture bed
A bed in a slightly tilted position, head higher than feet. It can have 1 or 2 mattresses. Then traction weights can hang from the head.
Halo vest
A rigid vest can be used depending on the injury. Most often, people can be out of bed after the halo vest is on. It keeps the neck bones in place while they heal. See figure 16 to see what the vest looks like and Appendix IV for clothing suggestions.
Intravenous catheter (IV) and IV fluids
A catheter placed into a vein for giving fluid and medicine
A machine that shows heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels
Nasogastric feeding tube
A tube placed through the nose into the stomach used to suction the stomach or to give liquid food directly into the stomach
Sequential compression stockings (SCDs or Kendalls)
Plastic leg wraps that help prevent blood clots by inflating and deflating around the legs
Urinary “Foley” catheter
A tube placed into the bladder, used to drain and measure urine
A machine used with an endotracheal tube to help with breathing
Last reviewed: 
March 2018

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