halo vest

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halo vest

Etymology: Gk, halos, circular floor; AS, kasta
an orthopedic device used to help immobilize the neck and head, providing traction to the cervical spine. It incorporates a vest, usually with shoulder straps, and metal bars within the cast that connect the vest to secure pins to a band around the skull. The halo is attached to the skull by pins or screws. The halo vest is used to aid the healing of injuries and cervical dislocations and to position and immobilize a patient after cervical surgery.
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Halo vest

ha·lo vest

(hā'lō vest)
An orthopedic device used to help immobilize the neck and head.

halo vest

A device used to immobilize the head and cervical spine following vertebral injury or surgery. It is designed to provide in-line traction of the cervical spine while allowing for a moderate amount of functional independence. The halo vest consists of three parts: (1) the halo, secured into the skull through the use of four pins or screws; (2) the vest, worn over the shoulders and trunk to support the weight of the halo, skull, and cervical spine; and (3) four metal bars connecting the halo to the vest.

Patient care

The screws attaching the halo to the skull must be kept clean to reduce the risk of infection. Hygiene consists of cleaning each pin two to three times a day as prescribed by a physician. The patient should be instructed on how to use a mirror to inspect the sites for signs of infection, e.g., redness of the skin, or purulent drainage from around the pins. If the vest becomes wet, it should be dried with a hairdryer set on its lowest temperature setting. The shoulders and thorax should be inspected for signs of irritation from the vest. Additional padding may be required around pressure-sensitive areas.


Complications reported with the halo vest include: (1) incomplete cervical fracture healing (in about 10% to 15% of patients); (2) impairments in balance, vision, and some activities of daily living; (3) infection; (4) loosening of pins; and (5) scarring of skin at pin insertion sites.
Synonym: halo vest orthosis
References in periodicals archive ?
Caring for an individual with a halo vest can be a frustrating and anxiety-provoking experience for healthcare professionals, the patient, and their families.
Given that most patients are discharged back into the community, halo vest care standardization is essential for optimizing care to reduce patient anxiety, frustrations, and complications.
Given this, there was a strong need to develop standardized methods of care for nurses involved with halo crown application, halo vest application, halo pin and vest care, and patient and family educational materials.
Once proper alignment has been established, a halo vest is often applied to provide ongoing immobilization of the cervical spine.
Upon completion of the halo vest application, a lateral cervical spine x-ray is required to ensure proper alignment and positioning.
Halo vest and crown fixation are generally quite effective; however, complications may occur (Botte et al.
Place the patient supine in bed, placing a towel or plastic bag along the back and shoulders of the halo vest to protect the lining from getting wet.
Key areas that were addressed in detail included having regular assessments by the medical doctor and team, knowing various parts of the halo vest, skin care, bathing, dressing, sleeping, transportation, walking, grocery shopping, reading, and sexual activity.
In the both groups, the patients were immobilized postoperatively in bed under light head halter traction for 1 to 4 weeks followed by halo vest immobilization for an additional 8 to 14 weeks.
Type 2 injuries are initially reduced with traction in slight extension followed by a halo vest for 12 weeks.