“Ankylosing Spondylitis: Managing Patients in an Emergency Setting, A Primer for First Responders” provides the education and training to ensure that all emergency first responders, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics and fire and police safety personnel have an opportunity to learn the proper and safe techniques in the care and handling of individuals with spondylitis. This training is not intended to be diagnostic, but rather to prepare an emergency medical technician to do the right thing to prevent further injury once a person has self-reported, in some way, that he or she has AS. The Spondylitis Association of America developed this training program in cooperation with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT).
AS is a systemic rheumatic disease that primarily affects the spine. It is estimated that at least 500,000 people in the United States have AS. As the disease progresses, in moderate to severe cases, the vertebrae of the spine can become fused into a single, solid bone incapable of flexion, extension or lateral movement. The fused spine of a person with AS is inherently fragile and as a result susceptible to fracture with resultant spinal cord injury. It has been reported in the medical literature that there is an estimated 35% to 58% mortality rate in people with AS following a spinal fracture, and additionally, that AS patients are at high risk for serious spinal injury and increased neurological complications even in the event of minor trauma.
Video Distribution Form
If you are a person impacted by spondylitis and would like to help distribute this training video to Emergency First Responders in your community, please complete the following registration form and return it to SAA: Click here
Emergency First Responders called to care for a patient with ankylosing spondylitis must remember that their patient's spine may be inflexible and traditional protocols for emergency care may do more harm than good. Since the fused spine of an AS patient can be extremely fragile and may fracture easily with even minor trauma, this program focuses on addressing EMS techniques that must be modified to accommodate patients with AS, including:
- Transport Considerations
- Cervical Collar Use
- Airway Management
For more information about this training program, please contact Chris Miller, Director of Program Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-818-892-1616, ext. 227.
This program was made possible through the generous support of: The Higgins Family Charitable Foundation; The Jean and E. Floyd Kvamme Foundation; The Kautz Family Foundation; and members of the SAA.