Common Injuries and Treatments During the Primary Survey

The primary survey is the first assessment step that healthcare professionals do when examining a patient with an injury or illness. It’s essential to get a quick overview of the individual and decide what treatments must be done to keep them safe and stable. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and we often treat clients who have sustained injuries due to falls or car collisions. In this blog post, we’ll go over some common injuries seen during the primary survey process and how they should typically be treated. Learning more about these common injuries and treatment processes can help you prepare for whatever may come your way while caring for needy patients!

Overview of the Primary Survey and Its Goals

The primary survey is a rapid assessment of the patient’s condition, used to provide quick and accurate medical attention during emergencies. This important tool ensures that the patient is rapidly exposed to the proper care and treatments. It consists of several steps: first responders prioritise airway, breathing and circulation before moving on to other areas such as disability or exposure. 

Each step is intended to assess a specific extent of injury or illness and determine the best course of action immediately. 

The primary survey is essential for emergency medical treatment, allowing people to receive organised and quality care in life-threatening situations.

Common Types of Injuries During the Primary Survey

During the primary survey, the most common type of injury seen is typically inflicted trauma. This might include anything from minor bruising and contusions to broken bones and lacerations. The head and trunk are the most commonly injured areas, as they are the body’s most vulnerable spots. Vehicle collisions often cause severe injuries to both and any blunt force or impact received from a fall. Burns are also prominent during the primary survey, particularly in electricity or fire accidents. While some of these injuries may seem mild, medical attention should be sought out no matter how big or small an injury is. Only this way can victims receive the proper care and treatment needed to recover quickly and safely.

Treating Physical Injuries with the Primary Survey

When treating physical injuries, starting with the primary survey is key. The preliminary survey comprises two parts: a MARCH heading and an assessment of circulation, breathing, disability, exposure and environment (ABCDE). At the start of the primary survey, medical responders should attend to any immediate life-threatening issues. Then they work systematically through each letter in MARCH, such as Massive Hemorrhage, Airway maintenance and protection, Respiratory support and Circulation; then they assess ABCDE. Treatments like bandaging wounds or removing foreign objects are usually done during the ABCDE part after determining if a person has a spinal injury. Completing the primary survey quickly yet accurately is instrumental in helping someone sustain their health after an injury.

How to Treat Existing Conditions During the Primary Survey

When confronted with an emergency, thinking clearly and making sense of it can be challenging. The “DR ABC” code is a mnemonic used by medical professionals for assessment and treatment during the primary survey. It stands for Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. This code helps medical personnel provide timely treatment for existing conditions and essential life support as needed. Assessing danger before responding is critical in controlling any serious or escalating situations. Responding quickly and effectively following the DR ABC Code can differentiate life and death in any emergency. Making sense of the DR ABC Code ensures emergency response procedures.

crop people discussing drafts office

Defining Unconsciousness, Shock, and Respiratory Distress During the Primary Survey

It is essential to quickly and accurately identify unconsciousness, shock, and respiratory distress. Unconsciousness can be described as an inability of the body to stay awake or respond to stimuli. Shock occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed by too much stress or insufficient oxygen circulating the system. Respiratory distress is a struggle with breathing due to an obstruction limiting the air the person can draw into their lungs. Knowing how to recognise these three conditions during an initial primary survey could mean life or death for a patient in critical need. So, healthcare professionals must familiarise themselves with each look to respond swiftly and appropriately.

Tips for Performing a Proper Assessment During the Primary Survey

A primary survey is essential to care for patients in any healthcare setting. It is the first step in assessing and diagnosing the patient’s condition and determining the best course of care. An effective primary survey should include assessments of the airway, breathing, circulation, disability, and exposure. To ensure that all components are thoroughly covered in the evaluation, it’s essential to start with assessing vitals such as blood pressure and heart rate. Then move on to examining respiration for signs of spontaneous breathing and checking for any other noteworthy physical or mental changes that could indicate underlying severe conditions. Additionally, it’s essential to perform an exam while they are in the supine position to evaluate any potential circulation problems better. Through these steps, you can ensure you have thoroughly examined your patient’s primary survey and allocated their care appropriately.

doctor performing routine medical checkup


As seen throughout this blog post, the primary survey is a widely used assessment tool that serves as a primary diagnostic tool for medical practitioners. It helps to quickly identify life-threatening conditions and injuries that must be addressed immediately. Although the preliminary survey can initially seem intimidating, it is essential for creating successful patient treatment plans. Every medical practitioner should be familiar with its goals and strategies to ensure they can meet their patient’s needs. With the proper preparation and training, medical practitioners can perform an accurate primary survey assessment every time and ensure their patient receives the most effective care possible, read more here!

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