The primary survey is the initial assessment and management of a trauma patient. It is conducted to detect and treat actual or imminent life threats and prevent complications from these injuries. A systematic approach using ABCDE is used. If a group of clinicians is assembled to perform the initial assessment, there will be multiple simultaneous activities occurring and resuscitation does not always proceed in a purely linear, sequential fashion.
On arrival to the emergency department, the patient should have full non-invasive monitoring applied, and initial management including:
An assessment of airway patency and stability should be performed during the primary survey and a plan for airway management instituted if required. Unless the patient is in cardiac arrest, immediate securing of the airway with endotracheal intubation is rarely required upon arrival of a major trauma patient.
Ensure that any alterations in level of consciousness are not related to a metabolic cause.