Journal for Healthcare Quality
Dysphagia, a complication of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), can lead to death. Cervical collar (c-collar) restriction may increase the risk for dysphagia. The objective was to determine how c-collars affect dysphagia rates.
This retrospective cohort study included geriatric TBIs or cervical spine injuries (January 2016 to December 2018) at a Level 1 trauma center. Outcomes (dysphagia, aspiration, and respiratory failure) were compared by c-collar placement.
There were 684 patients: 21.5% had a c-collar and 78.5% did not. Demographics, injury severity score, and Glasgow Coma Scale were comparable. Dysphagia (53.7% vs. 39.3%, p = .002) and respiratory failure (17.0% vs. 6.9%, p = .0002) were more common among patients with c-collars. Aspiration rates (p = .11) were similar. After adjustment, patients with a c-collar had a significantly higher odds of dysphagia and respiratory failure. Among patients who did not receive swallow therapy, aspiration (p = .02) and respiratory failure (p < .0001) were more common for those with c-collars.
C-collar placement increased the risk for dysphagia and respiratory failure. There was evidence that swallow therapy may modify the effect of c-collar placement. For patients who did not receive swallow therapy, aspiration was more common among those with a c-collar. Dysphagia screening among patients with a c-collar may improve patient quality.
dysphagia, cervical collars, aspiration, pneumonia, respiratory failure
Jarvis S, Sater AP, Gordon J, Nguyen A, Banton K, Bar-Or D. Cervical Collars and Dysphagia Among Geriatric TBIs and Cervical Spine Injuries: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Journal for Healthcare Quality. 2023; 45(3). doi: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000379.