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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-10

Compartment syndrome of the extremity: Matters arising

Department of Surgery, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
J N Legbo
Department of Surgery, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 2376, Sokoto
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Compartment syndrome (CS) is a limb-threatening and a life-threatening condition that occurs when pressure within a musculofascial compartment exceeds tissue perfusion pressure. Morbidity and mortality from CS stem from delay in diagnosis and treatment. Aim: To highlight the various clinical and experimental aspects of CS, in order to increase the awareness of clinicians and reduce unnecessary morbidity and mortality resulting from this condition. Methods: A review composed through Medline Internet search, literature search and contributions from our individual and collective experiences over the years, as well as shared experiences from colleagues. Results: The compartments of the lower leg, foot and the volar forearm are particularly prone to developing CS. Many aetiological factors have been implicated, but the diagnosis is based on clinical, manometric, radiological and laboratory parameters. Although medical treatment may suffice in early cases, surgical decompression should be performed appropriately where necessary. Tendon transfers and stabilization may be indicated as late treatment. Conclusion: CS constitutes a threat to both limb and life. Prompt recognition of this condition is necessary in order to institute the appropriate management schedule.

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