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New EMS Equipment Guide to Aid Those With Pelvic Injuries

After sustaining an injury to the pelvis, particularly an open-book pelvic ring fracture, it is crucial that a patient in an emergency situation receives special care to reduce the risk of life-threatening hemorrhage. This care involves circumferential compression of the pelvis, which can be done with a variety of binders, belts, slings and other devices, including, if necessary, a bed sheet. This procedure most often needs to be performed while a patient is being transported to a hospital.

While providing circumferential compression to the pelvis is a common and necessary situation, there is not currently any standard describing the ideal characteristics of devices used for this procedure. “Because these devices are universally used for the stabilization of pelvic ring fractures during transport and prior to definitive treatment, it would seem prudent to develop minimum standards which might improve their quality, efficiency, and safety,” says Sam Scheinberg, M.D., a board certified orthopedic surgeon, and CEO of the Seaberg Company, Inc., a manufacturer of emergency medical products.

Because there isn’t currently a standard guide to devices used for circumferential compression, the design of many such devices often prevents placement on the patient for optimum application of force. In the case of some devices, the force is not confined to an effective safe range. Scheinberg also notes that the performance of procedures commonly associated with pelvic fracture treatment, such as urinary catheterization, interventional radiology and the application of external fixation, can actually be hindered by the design of some devices currently being used for compression.

Scheinberg is currently working as a member of ASTM Subcommittee F30.01 on EMS Equipment to create the new standard Guide for Selection and Use for Pelvic Ring Circumferential Compression Stabilization Devices (PRCCSD). The guide will establish minimum standards for pelvic slings, belts or binders used in circumferential compression procedures. The subcommittee, which is part of ASTM Committee F30 on Emergency Medical Services, is actively seeking participation from any interested parties in the development of the guide.

For further technical information, contact Sam Scheinberg, M.D., the Seaberg Company, Inc., Newport, Ore. (phone: 541/867-4726) Committee F30 meets October 21-23 in conjunction with EMS Expo 2004 in Atlanta, Ga. For membership or meeting details, contact Scott Orthey, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9730). //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International