Should the Kendrick Extrication Device have a place in pre-hospital care?

The Kendrick Extrication Device (KED) is described as an ‘emergency patient handling device designed to aid in the immobilisation and short transfer movement of patients with suspected spinal/cervical injuries’ (Ferno-Washington, 2001). The device that evolved in the late 1970s was originally intended to assist with the immobilisation and extrication of racing drivers from their cockpit (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons et al, 2012; Trafford et al, 2014). Since then it has become adopted by many ambulance services as a tool intended to assist in the immobilisation and extrication of patients, particularly from road traffic collisions (RTC) and is a recognised piece of equipment among paramedics. However, its assimilation into the pre-hospital environment and overall appropriateness in patient care should be viewed with caution. This article comments on the potential adverse risks associated around delayed extrication, the impact on respiratory function and the potential for increased movement of the casualty. Additionally, it highlights the current lack of evidence to support its use.

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