Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Acute Compartment Syndrome

emDOCs Podcast Episode 35 – August 17, 2021 - By Brit Long
Key Points
  • Compartment syndrome is a time-sensitive surgical emergency caused by increased pressure within a closed compartment. 
  • ACS is associated with a number of risk factors but occurs most frequently after a fracture or trauma to the involved area.
  • Pain out of proportion to the injury, paresthesias, pain with passive stretch, tense compartment, focal motor or sensory deficits, or decreased pulse or capillary refill time are signs and symptoms concerning for ACS.
  • Pain is the earliest finding in patients with ACS, but findings on history and exam cannot rule out the diagnosis.
  • Measurement of intracompartmental pressures using a pressure monitor is the most reliable test.
  • Treatment involves analgesia, removing constrictive dressing, placing the limb at heart level, and surgical consultation for emergent fasciotomy.