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Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a surgical emergency Surgical Emergency Acute Abdomen usually occurring secondary to trauma. The condition is marked by increased pressure within a compartment that compromises the circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment and function of the tissues within that space. Long bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types fractures are the most common cause, with the leg Leg The lower leg, or just "leg" in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy and forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term "forearm" is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy compartments frequently affected. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways out of proportion to the injury and may also have pallor, pulselessness Pulselessness Cardiac Arrest, paresthesia, poikilothermia Poikilothermia Cold to the touch. Acute Limb Ischemia, and paralysis (the 6 Ps PS Invasive Mechanical Ventilation of compartment syndrome). Diagnosis is clinical but compartment pressure measurement can be used. Management is an emergency fasciotomy. Failure to diagnose and manage the condition results in limb loss.

Last updated: 12 Feb, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

Compartment syndrome is a condition that occurs when increased pressure in a closed muscle compartment exceeds the pressure to perfuse the compartment, resulting in muscle and nerve ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage.

Epidemiology

  • Because men generally have larger muscle mass Mass Three-dimensional lesion that occupies a space within the breast Imaging of the Breast, they (especially men < 35 years of age), have the highest incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency.
  • Muscle mass Mass Three-dimensional lesion that occupies a space within the breast Imaging of the Breast in the compartment increases around 20 years of age but subsequently diminishes after 35 years of age.
  • Long bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types fractures: approximately ¾ of cases
    • ↑ risk of acute compartment syndrome (ACS) in comminuted fractures
    • Bones most affected:
      • Tibia Tibia The second longest bone of the skeleton. It is located on the medial side of the lower leg, articulating with the fibula laterally, the talus distally, and the femur proximally. Knee Joint: Anatomy (most common)
      • Humerus Humerus Bone in humans and primates extending from the shoulder joint to the elbow joint. Arm: Anatomy near the elbow (supracondylar fractures in children)

Etiology

  • Traumatic:
    • Long bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types fractures (most common)
    • Crush injury Crush injury Excessive compression of parts of the body that causes muscle swelling, fracture, and/or neurological disturbances in the affected areas. Crush injury with systemic manifestations is referred to as crush syndrome. Crush Syndrome
    • Burns Burns A burn is a type of injury to the skin and deeper tissues caused by exposure to heat, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation. Burns are classified according to their depth as superficial (1st-degree), partial-thickness (2nd-degree), full-thickness (3rd-degree), and 4th-degree burns. Burns
    • Electrical shocks
    • Penetration Penetration X-rays injury
    • Animal bites
  • Non-traumatic:
    • Bleeding, coagulopathy
    • Ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage reperfusion syndrome
    • Extravasation injury
    • Cast that is too tight
    • Intense muscle activity
    • High-pressure injection
    • Toxins such as snake Snake Limbless reptiles of the suborder serpentes. Snakebites venom
    • Group A streptococcus Streptococcus Streptococcus is one of the two medically important genera of gram-positive cocci, the other being Staphylococcus. Streptococci are identified as different species on blood agar on the basis of their hemolytic pattern and sensitivity to optochin and bacitracin. There are many pathogenic species of streptococci, including S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, S. pneumoniae, and the viridans streptococci. Streptococcus infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease of the muscle

Pathophysiology

  • Muscle groups are divided into compartments, which are reinforced by fascial membranes.
  • ↑ compartment pressure → venous outflow obstruction (↑ venous pressure) → arteriolar collapse (↓ arterial pressure) → decreased tissue perfusion → cellular anoxia →  damage to nerve and muscle tissues
  • Factors affecting injury:
    • Pressure:
      • Normal pressure within a compartment: generally 0–8 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg
      • Pressures tolerated without damage: up to 20 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg 
    • Duration: 
      • Prolonged exposure Exposure ABCDE Assessment at elevated pressures results in cell death Cell death Injurious stimuli trigger the process of cellular adaptation, whereby cells respond to withstand the harmful changes in their environment. Overwhelmed adaptive mechanisms lead to cell injury. Mild stimuli produce reversible injury. If the stimulus is severe or persistent, injury becomes irreversible. Apoptosis is programmed cell death, a mechanism with both physiologic and pathologic effects. Cell Injury and Death
      • Reversible muscle injury: < 4 hours
      • Irreversible muscle injury: ≥ 8 hours
      • Nerve conduction loss: 2 hours
      • Neuropraxia: 4 hours
      • Irreversible nerve injury Nerve Injury Surgical Complications: ≥ 8 hours
    • Type and location of injury
  • Can affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment any compartment of the body:
    • Lower extremities ( leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy): most common location of ACS
    • Forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term “forearm” is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy: compartment syndrome associated with supracondylar fracture Supracondylar fracture Supracondylar fractures are the most common elbow fractures in the pediatric population. The most common mechanism of injury involves a fall on an outstretched hand, resulting in a fracture of the distal humerus. Patients frequently present with pain, visible deformity, and limited range of motion of the injured elbow. Supracondylar Fracture (children) and distal radius Radius The outer shorter of the two bones of the forearm, lying parallel to the ulna and partially revolving around it. Forearm: Anatomy fracture Fracture A fracture is a disruption of the cortex of any bone and periosteum and is commonly due to mechanical stress after an injury or accident. Open fractures due to trauma can be a medical emergency. Fractures are frequently associated with automobile accidents, workplace injuries, and trauma. Overview of Bone Fractures (adults)
    • Upper arm Arm The arm, or “upper arm” in common usage, is the region of the upper limb that extends from the shoulder to the elbow joint and connects inferiorly to the forearm through the cubital fossa. It is divided into 2 fascial compartments (anterior and posterior). Arm: Anatomy
    • Hand Hand The hand constitutes the distal part of the upper limb and provides the fine, precise movements needed in activities of daily living. It consists of 5 metacarpal bones and 14 phalanges, as well as numerous muscles innervated by the median and ulnar nerves. Hand: Anatomy
    • Abdomen
    • Buttock

Clinical Presentation

General signs and symptoms

Mnemonic

The 6 Ps PS Invasive Mechanical Ventilation of compartment syndrome:

  1. Pain
  2. Poikilothermia
  3. Pallor
  4. Paresthesia
  5. Pulselessness
  6. Paralysis

Leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy compartment syndromes

  • Anterior compartment (most common site):
    • Structures:
      • Muscles responsible for dorsiflexion, eversion Eversion Chronic Apophyseal Injury, and inversion of the foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy and ankle
      • Toe extensors
      • Anterior tibial artery
      • Deep peroneal nerve Peroneal nerve The lateral of the two terminal branches of the sciatic nerve. The peroneal (or fibular) nerve provides motor and sensory innervation to parts of the leg and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy
    • Associated clinical feature(s):
      • Tense anterior leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy
      • Deep peroneal nerve Peroneal nerve The lateral of the two terminal branches of the sciatic nerve. The peroneal (or fibular) nerve provides motor and sensory innervation to parts of the leg and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy palsy Palsy paralysis of an area of the body, thus incapable of voluntary movement Cranial Nerve Palsies
      • Sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology loss in the 1st and 2nd web spaces
      • Weak toe extensors and foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy dorsiflexion
      • Painful passive motion with toe flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs
  • Lateral compartment:
    • Structures:
      • Muscles responsible for foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy eversion Eversion Chronic Apophyseal Injury
      • Superficial peroneal nerve Peroneal nerve The lateral of the two terminal branches of the sciatic nerve. The peroneal (or fibular) nerve provides motor and sensory innervation to parts of the leg and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy
      • Portion of the deep peroneal nerve Peroneal nerve The lateral of the two terminal branches of the sciatic nerve. The peroneal (or fibular) nerve provides motor and sensory innervation to parts of the leg and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy
    • Associated clinical feature(s):
      • Weak dorsiflexion and inversion of the foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy (deep peroneal nerve Peroneal nerve The lateral of the two terminal branches of the sciatic nerve. The peroneal (or fibular) nerve provides motor and sensory innervation to parts of the leg and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy deficit)
      • Reduced sensation in the lower leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy 
  • Deep posterior compartment:
    • Structures:
      • Muscles responsible for foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy plantar flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs
      • Posterior tibial artery, peroneal artery Peroneal Artery Ankle Joint: Anatomy
      • Tibial nerve Tibial Nerve The medial terminal branch of the sciatic nerve. The tibial nerve fibers originate in lumbar and sacral spinal segments (L4 to S2). They supply motor and sensory innervation to parts of the calf and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy
    • Associated clinical feature(s):
      • Posterior tibial nerve Tibial Nerve The medial terminal branch of the sciatic nerve. The tibial nerve fibers originate in lumbar and sacral spinal segments (L4 to S2). They supply motor and sensory innervation to parts of the calf and foot. Popliteal Fossa: Anatomy palsy Palsy paralysis of an area of the body, thus incapable of voluntary movement Cranial Nerve Palsies
      • Weak toe flexors 
      • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways with toe extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs
      • Tense distal medial leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy
  • Superficial posterior compartment (least at risk):
    • Structures:
      • Muscles of plantar flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs ( gastrocnemius Gastrocnemius Leg: Anatomy, soleus Soleus Leg: Anatomy)
      • No major arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology or nerve
    • Associated clinical feature(s):
      • Tense leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy area
      • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways in the leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy

Forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term “forearm” is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy compartment syndromes

  • Anterior compartment (superficial and deep groups):
    • Structures muscles responsible for wrist and digit flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs and pronation Pronation Applies to movements of the forearm in turning the palm backward or downward. When referring to the foot, a combination of eversion and abduction movements in the tarsal and metatarsal joints (turning the foot up and in toward the midline of the body). Examination of the Upper Limbs
    • Associated clinical feature(s):
      • Ulnar and median nerve Median Nerve A major nerve of the upper extremity. In humans, the fibers of the median nerve originate in the lower cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord (usually C6 to T1), travel via the brachial plexus, and supply sensory and motor innervation to parts of the forearm and hand. Cubital Fossa: Anatomy palsy Palsy paralysis of an area of the body, thus incapable of voluntary movement Cranial Nerve Palsies
      • Weak digital flexors
      • Painful digital extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs
      • Tense volar forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term “forearm” is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy
  • Posterior compartment of the forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term “forearm” is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy:
    • Structures: muscles responsible for wrist and digit extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs and forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term “forearm” is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy supination Supination Applies to movements of the forearm in turning the palm forward or upward. When referring to the foot, a combination of adduction and inversion movements of the foot. Examination of the Upper Limbs 
    • Associated clinical feature(s):
      • Weak digital extensors
      • Painful digital flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs
      • Tense dorsal forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term “forearm” is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy

Other compartment syndromes

  • Arm Arm The arm, or “upper arm” in common usage, is the region of the upper limb that extends from the shoulder to the elbow joint and connects inferiorly to the forearm through the cubital fossa. It is divided into 2 fascial compartments (anterior and posterior). Arm: Anatomy compartment syndrome: 
    • Rare, as the arm Arm The arm, or “upper arm” in common usage, is the region of the upper limb that extends from the shoulder to the elbow joint and connects inferiorly to the forearm through the cubital fossa. It is divided into 2 fascial compartments (anterior and posterior). Arm: Anatomy compartments tolerate significant fluid volume
    • If the anterior compartment is affected, clinical features are:
      • Ulnar and median nerve Median Nerve A major nerve of the upper extremity. In humans, the fibers of the median nerve originate in the lower cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord (usually C6 to T1), travel via the brachial plexus, and supply sensory and motor innervation to parts of the forearm and hand. Cubital Fossa: Anatomy palsy Palsy paralysis of an area of the body, thus incapable of voluntary movement Cranial Nerve Palsies
      • Weak biceps Biceps Arm: Anatomy and distal flexors
      • Painful elbow flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs
      • Tense anterior upper arm Arm The arm, or “upper arm” in common usage, is the region of the upper limb that extends from the shoulder to the elbow joint and connects inferiorly to the forearm through the cubital fossa. It is divided into 2 fascial compartments (anterior and posterior). Arm: Anatomy
    • If the posterior compartment is affected, clinical features are:
      • Radial nerve Radial Nerve A major nerve of the upper extremity. In humans the fibers of the radial nerve originate in the lower cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord (usually C5 to T1), travel via the posterior cord of the brachial plexus, and supply motor innervation to extensor muscles of the arm and cutaneous sensory fibers to extensor regions of the arm and hand. Axilla and Brachial Plexus: Anatomy palsy Palsy paralysis of an area of the body, thus incapable of voluntary movement Cranial Nerve Palsies
      • Weak triceps and forearm Forearm The forearm is the region of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. The term “forearm” is used in anatomy to distinguish this area from the arm, a term that is commonly used to describe the entire upper limb. The forearm consists of 2 long bones (the radius and the ulna), the interosseous membrane, and multiple arteries, nerves, and muscles. Forearm: Anatomy extensors
      • Painful elbow extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs
      • Tense posterior upper arm Arm The arm, or “upper arm” in common usage, is the region of the upper limb that extends from the shoulder to the elbow joint and connects inferiorly to the forearm through the cubital fossa. It is divided into 2 fascial compartments (anterior and posterior). Arm: Anatomy
  • Thigh Thigh The thigh is the region of the lower limb found between the hip and the knee joint. There is a single bone in the thigh called the femur, which is surrounded by large muscles grouped into 3 fascial compartments. Thigh: Anatomy compartment syndrome (may occur with major trauma) and hand Hand The hand constitutes the distal part of the upper limb and provides the fine, precise movements needed in activities of daily living. It consists of 5 metacarpal bones and 14 phalanges, as well as numerous muscles innervated by the median and ulnar nerves. Hand: Anatomy compartment syndrome are uncommon.

Diagnosis

  • Primarily a clinical diagnosis 
  • Compartment pressure measurement:
    • Manometer ( hand Hand The hand constitutes the distal part of the upper limb and provides the fine, precise movements needed in activities of daily living. It consists of 5 metacarpal bones and 14 phalanges, as well as numerous muscles innervated by the median and ulnar nerves. Hand: Anatomy-held equipment)
    • Wick or slit-catheter technique (catheter is inserted into the compartment and a transducer Transducer A device placed on the patient’s body to visualize a target Ultrasound (Sonography) monitors the pressure)
  • Normal pressure of a tissue compartment is 0–8 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg.
  • Compartment syndrome:
    • Pressure > 30–40 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg 
    • Differential pressure < 30 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg (the pressure difference between diastolic blood pressure and compartment pressure)
Stryker pressure monitor

Pressure monitor
A stryker pressure monitor being used for direct compartment pressure measurement of the leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy

Image: “Stryker pressure monitor” by Department of Anesthesia Anesthesia A state characterized by loss of feeling or sensation. This depression of nerve function is usually the result of pharmacologic action and is induced to allow performance of surgery or other painful procedures. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts/ ICU ICU Hospital units providing continuous surveillance and care to acutely ill patients. West Nile Virus and Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways Management, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha-Qatar. License: CC BY 2.0

Management

  • Initial ABCDE (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Exposure) assessment for all trauma patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship
  • Remove any binders, casts, or dressings of the affected site.
  • Compartment pressure within 30 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg of diastolic pressure should undergo emergent fasciotomy:
    • Long incisions release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology the pressure in the affected compartment and adjacent compartments. 
    • These wounds are left open, and a 2nd-look procedure for debridement Debridement The removal of foreign material and devitalized or contaminated tissue from or adjacent to a traumatic or infected lesion until surrounding healthy tissue is exposed. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is performed within 48–72 hours. 
    • Wound closure within 7–10 days (may require skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions grafting)
  • Analgesics
  • For non-traumatic causes:
    • Hemophiliacs: replacement of factor levels
    • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship on anticoagulants Anticoagulants Anticoagulants are drugs that retard or interrupt the coagulation cascade. The primary classes of available anticoagulants include heparins, vitamin K-dependent antagonists (e.g., warfarin), direct thrombin inhibitors, and factor Xa inhibitors. Anticoagulants: reversal of anticoagulation Anticoagulation Pulmonary Hypertension Drugs or factor replacement

Clinical Relevance

  • ABCDE assessment ABCDE Assessment The airway, breathing, and circulation, disability and exposure (ABCDE) assessment is the mainstay management approach used in managing critically ill patients. The ABCDEs are the essential 1st steps to perform in many situations including unresponsive patients, cardiac arrests, and critical medical or trauma patients. ABCDE Assessment: the mainstay management approach used in managing critically ill patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship and the essential 1st step to perform in many situations, including unresponsive patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship, cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) arrests, and critical medical or trauma patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship. For the trauma patient, ABCDE assessment ABCDE Assessment The airway, breathing, and circulation, disability and exposure (ABCDE) assessment is the mainstay management approach used in managing critically ill patients. The ABCDEs are the essential 1st steps to perform in many situations including unresponsive patients, cardiac arrests, and critical medical or trauma patients. ABCDE Assessment is included in the primary survey Primary Survey Thoracic Trauma in Children, the initial evaluation, and for the management of injuries. 
  • Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by muscle necrosis and the release of toxic intracellular contents, especially myoglobin, into the circulation. Rhabdomyolysis: a condition characterized by muscle necrosis Muscle Necrosis Rhabdomyolysis and the release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology of myoglobin Myoglobin A conjugated protein which is the oxygen-transporting pigment of muscle. It is made up of one globin polypeptide chain and one heme group. Rhabdomyolysis, which has nephrotoxic effects. Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by muscle necrosis and the release of toxic intracellular contents, especially myoglobin, into the circulation. Rhabdomyolysis can be caused by trauma or direct muscle compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma, or can be nontraumatic (e.g., intense exertional activity). Creatine Creatine An amino acid that occurs in vertebrate tissues and in urine. In muscle tissue, creatine generally occurs as phosphocreatine. Creatine is excreted as creatinine in the urine. Acute Kidney Injury kinase elevation with presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor of myalgias Myalgias Painful sensation in the muscles. Tick-borne Encephalitis Virus and dark urine Urine Liquid by-product of excretion produced in the kidneys, temporarily stored in the bladder until discharge through the urethra. Bowen Disease and Erythroplasia of Queyrat highly suggest the diagnosis. Management is with intravenous fluid resuscitation Resuscitation The restoration to life or consciousness of one apparently dead. . Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • Crush syndrome Crush Syndrome Crush syndrome encompasses the systemic manifestations that result from a crush (or traumatic compression) injury. Compartment syndrome and/or rhabdomyolysis can also occur in crush syndrome. Systemic effects include the development of renal failure due to toxins released from damaged muscles, hypovolemia, and acidosis. Crush Syndrome: systemic manifestations ( renal failure Renal failure Conditions in which the kidneys perform below the normal level in the ability to remove wastes, concentrate urine, and maintain electrolyte balance; blood pressure; and calcium metabolism. Renal insufficiency can be classified by the degree of kidney damage (as measured by the level of proteinuria) and reduction in glomerular filtration rate. Crush Syndrome, shock Shock Shock is a life-threatening condition associated with impaired circulation that results in tissue hypoxia. The different types of shock are based on the underlying cause: distributive (↑ cardiac output (CO), ↓ systemic vascular resistance (SVR)), cardiogenic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), hypovolemic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), obstructive (↓ CO), and mixed. Types of Shock) resulting from a compressive traumatic injury. Compartment syndrome and/or rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by muscle necrosis and the release of toxic intracellular contents, especially myoglobin, into the circulation. Rhabdomyolysis can occur in crush syndrome Crush Syndrome Crush syndrome encompasses the systemic manifestations that result from a crush (or traumatic compression) injury. Compartment syndrome and/or rhabdomyolysis can also occur in crush syndrome. Systemic effects include the development of renal failure due to toxins released from damaged muscles, hypovolemia, and acidosis. Crush Syndrome. Field management with intravenous fluids Intravenous Fluids Intravenous fluids are one of the most common interventions administered in medicine to approximate physiologic bodily fluids. Intravenous fluids are divided into 2 categories: crystalloid and colloid solutions. Intravenous fluids have a wide variety of indications, including intravascular volume expansion, electrolyte manipulation, and maintenance fluids. Intravenous Fluids and extrication is crucial in reducing the risk of complications and death. 
  • Supracondylar fracture Supracondylar fracture Supracondylar fractures are the most common elbow fractures in the pediatric population. The most common mechanism of injury involves a fall on an outstretched hand, resulting in a fracture of the distal humerus. Patients frequently present with pain, visible deformity, and limited range of motion of the injured elbow. Supracondylar Fracture: the most common elbow fracture Fracture A fracture is a disruption of the cortex of any bone and periosteum and is commonly due to mechanical stress after an injury or accident. Open fractures due to trauma can be a medical emergency. Fractures are frequently associated with automobile accidents, workplace injuries, and trauma. Overview of Bone Fractures affecting the distal humerus Humerus Bone in humans and primates extending from the shoulder joint to the elbow joint. Arm: Anatomy just above the condyles. This injury needs an immediate orthopedic consultation to evaluate possible neurovascular bundle damage, as many vessels and nerves pass by the elbow. This fracture Fracture A fracture is a disruption of the cortex of any bone and periosteum and is commonly due to mechanical stress after an injury or accident. Open fractures due to trauma can be a medical emergency. Fractures are frequently associated with automobile accidents, workplace injuries, and trauma. Overview of Bone Fractures may also be complicated with compartment syndrome.

References

  1. Beck M.A., & Haller P (2020). Compartment syndrome. Tintinalli J.E., & Ma O, & Yealy D.M., & Meckler G.D., & Stapczynski J, & Cline D.M., & Thomas S.H. (Eds.),Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 9e. McGraw-Hill.
  2. Berkeley, R., Bledsoe, B. (2010). Know the Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Asphyxia. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.jems.com/patient-care/know-signs-and-symptoms-trauma/
  3. Carter MA (2013). Compartment Syndrome Evaluation. In Roberts JR, Hedges JR, Custalow CB, et al (eds): Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine, ed 6. Philadelphia, Saunders  Ch 54:p 1095-1124.
  4. Chung, K, Yoneda, H, and Modrall, G. (2020). Pathophysiology, classification, and causes of acute extremity compartment syndrome. Retrieved January 14, 2021, from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/pathophysiology-classification-and-causes-of-acute-extremity-compartment-syndrome
  5. Elliott KG, Johnstone AJ. (2003) Diagnosing acute compartment syndrome. J Bone Joint Surg. – British. Volume 85: 625–32.
  6. Jimenez, A., Marappa-Ganeshan, R. (2020) Forearm Compartment Syndrome. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556130/
  7. Miller, M. (2020). Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis. Retrieved on January 14, 2021, from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-rhabdomyolysis
  8. Stracciolini, A and Hammerbery, M. (2020). Acute compartment syndrome of the extremities. Retrieved January 14, 2021, from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/acute-compartment-syndrome-of-the-extremities
  9. Torlincasi, A., Lopez, R., Waseem, M. (2020) Acute Compartment Syndrome. StatPearls.  Retrieved January 17, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448124/

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