Compartment Syndrome

English: This is a picture of compartment synd...

English: This is a picture of compartment syndrome of the lower leg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Compartment syndrome results from increased pressure within an osseofascial space, leading to decreased perfusion pressure. If it is left untreated, muscle and nerve ischemia may progress to necrosis and fibrosis, causing Volkmann ischemiccontracture.Compartment syndrome is usually seen in hand and forearm

  • Etiology. Fractures that cause bleeding, crush and vascular injuries, circumferential burns, bleeding dyscrasias, reperfusion after ischemia, or tight dressings can lead to the syndrome.
  • Diagnosis is based on a high index of suspicion, clinical examination, and symptoms of pain that are exacerbated with passive stretch of the compartment musculature, paresthesias, paralysis, or paresis of ischemic muscles. Pulselessness may occur and indicates a late finding (and is usually also a sign of irreversible damage) or the presence of major arterial occlusion rather than compartment syndrome. Measurement with a pressure monitor of a compartment pressure of greater than 30 mm Hg confirms diagnosis.
  • Treatment for incipient compartment syndrome involves close observation and frequent examinations and should include removal of tight casts and dressings. Elevation of the extremity to, or slightly above, the level of the heart is recommended. Acute or suspected compartment syndrome requires urgent fasciotomies of the involved areas. Decompression within 6 hours of established compartment pressures is necessary to prevent irreversible muscle ischemia. Forearm fasciotomies involve volar, carpal tunnel, and dorsal compartments. Hand fasciotomies include dorsal incisions for interossei and adductor pollicis, thenar, and hypothenar compartments, as well as midaxial incisions of the digits (ulnar for the index, long, and ring fingers and radial for the thumb and small finger).
Source:Washington Manual of surgery

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