Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a condition typified by raised pressure within a closed space with the potential to cause irreversible damage to the contents of the compartment.1 This condition can be present in any portion of the body in which there is a closed compartment: most commonly in the leg but can also be seen in the thigh, forearm, hands, and feet. Causes range from constrictive dressings, pneumatic antishock garments, fractures, tight casts, to vascular injuries. Crush injuries can also cause compartment syndrome; however, many now consider severe crush injuries to be an altogether different entity.1 Do not overlook the possibility of compartment syndrome in open fractures as it occurs in 6-9% of all open fractures.1

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