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Assessment of the spine in the unconscious trauma patient is limited by an inadequate clinical examination. The potential of a missed unstable disc or ligamentous injury results in many patients remaining immobilized in critical care units for prolonged periods.This study evaluates helical computed tomographic (CT) scanning of the whole cervical spine as part of a spinal assessment and clearance protocol.Four hundred thirty-seven unconscious, intubated, blunt trauma patients underwent CT scanning of the cervical spine. Sixty-one patients had a cervical spine injury and 31 (7.0%) were unstable. CT scanning had a sensitivity of 98.1%, a specificity of 98.8%, and a negative predictive value of 99.7%. There were no missed unstable injuries. In contrast, an adequate lateral cervical spine film detected only 24 injuries (14 unstable), with a sensitivity of 53.3%.Helical CT scanning of the cervical spine allows rapid and safe evaluation of the cervical spine in the unconscious, intubated trauma patient.