Compartment Syndrome – The Symptoms and treatments

Compartment Syndrome is the syndrome where there is a compressing of blood vessels, nerves and muscles inside a closed compartment within the body. This condition leads to a death of a tissue due to lack of oxygenation.

Compartment Syndrome can be identified through symptoms and signs which is usually associated to 5 P’s that is  pain out of proportion, paresthesia, pallor, paralysis and pulselessness, sometimes there is a 6th p, which is poikilothermia. There are also different signs that one patient can feel once affected by the condition.

Compartment Syndrome can be caused by a fracture or a badly bruised muscle, example of this is when a motorcycle falls on a leg of a rider or when a football player is hit accidentally by a helmet. It can also be caused by a reestablished blood flow after the circulation was blocked. This occurs if after the surgeon repair a damaged blood vessel that was blocked for a couple of hours. Blood vessels can also be blocked while sleeping.

The other causes of Compartment Syndrome can be crush injuries, constricting bandages where the cast or bandages are too tight that it leads to this syndrome. It can also be caused by anabolic steroid use. So how does one prevent having this syndrome? There is no prevention for this type of syndrome.

However recognizing it and having it diagnosed early can help avoid any complications it might bring. A patient that has casts need also to be careful and should see their doctors or go into surgery once they feel any pressure or pain once they had their casts. These measures are the only one you can do to avoid experiencing a more hurtful syndrome not only to your health but pockets as well.

Symptoms like severe and constant pain which is aggravated by a stretching in the muscle group that cannot be relieved by analgecic medicines including morphine. Altered sensation of pins or needles or parethesia in the cutaneous nerves if the affected area. Another would be paralysis in the limb. The compartment might feel tense and firm. Some even experience that their legs feel numbed. There are also signs of swollen and tensed shiny skin and bruising in the skin. There can also be congestion of digits and prolonged capillary refill time.

A patient can undergo a series of exams or tests to confirm if he has the Compartment Syndrome. One could be a physical exam that can reveal severe pain when moving affected area, tensely swollen shiny skin, and occurrence of pain once the compartment is squeezed. To confirm further, a needle is attached to a pressure meter then is inserted into the area affected. It is declares a Compartment Syndrome once the pressure measured is greater than 45 mmHg or when the pressure is within the 30 mmHg diastolic blood pressure.

Once diagnosed, a surgery is required. Surgeries where long surgical cuts are made in the fascia are done to relieve pressure and pain. The wound is then left open covered only with sterile dressing and closed 48 to 72 hours later on the second surgery. Skin grafts are usually required to close that wound.

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