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Compartment Syndrome, Neurovascular Resources, Direct Patient Care

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Compartment syndrome:"Compartment syndrome can be defined as 'increased pressure within a confined space that leads to micro-vascular compromise and ultimately to cell death.' In other words, pressure increases, the pressure can not be released because of confining elements (fascia), so instead of swelling out, it 'swells in', and cuts off the circulating blood supply, leading to tissue death."


Exertional Compartment Syndrome of the Leg: Steps for Expedient Return to Activity:"The pain and swelling associated with exertional compartment syndrome is caused by raised intracompartmental pressures possibly induced by muscle swelling or increased osmotic pressure. Although either the acute or chronic form of exertional compartment syndrome may occur, chronic is more common. Patients typically experience pain and swelling and may also have sensory deficits or paresthesias, and motor loss or weakness. Diagnosis is confirmed by intracompartmental pressure measurements before and after exercise. Although activity modification may alleviate symptoms, fasciotomy may be required."


Compartment Syndrome, Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics:"compartment syndrome is elevation of interstitial pressure in closed fascial compartment that results in microvascular compromise; - as duration & magnitude of interstitial pressure increase, myoneural function is impaired & necrosis of soft tissues eventually develops; - necrosis of tissue may begin at interstitial pressure as low as 30 mm - while others have suggested that it begins at higher level; - w/ periods of hypotension and trauma to limb, interstitial tissue pressure of 30 mm of mercury has been suggested as threshold at which diagnosis of compartment syndrome should be considered."

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Last updated by Andrew Lopez, RN on March 13, 2023

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