Compartment syndrome


Compartment syndrome
A condition in which there is swelling and an increase in pressure within a limited space (a compartment) that presses on and compromises blood vessels, nerves, and/or tendons that run through that compartment. Hence, the function of tissue within that compartment is compromised. Compartment syndromes usually involve the leg but can also occur in the forearm, arm, thigh, shoulder, and buttock. Some of the causes of increased pressure in compartment syndromes are trauma (for example, a fracture), too-tight wound dressings or casts, hemorrhage (bleeding) into the compartment, or inflammation (carpal tunnel syndrome, for example). Symptoms of a compartment syndrome include numbness, tingling, pain or loss of movement in an extremity. Sequelae (the lasting effects) can include nerve compression, paralysis, contracture or even death. Treatment is to relieve the pressure; if symptoms are severe or prolonged, surgery may be needed.

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com·part·ment syndrome kəm-'pärt-mənt- n a painful condition resulting from the expansion or overgrowth of enclosed tissue (as of a leg muscle) within its anatomical enclosure (as a muscular sheath) producing pressure that interferes with circulation and adversely affects the function and health of the tissue itself called also compartmental syndrome

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the condition that results from swelling of the muscles in a compartment of a limb, which raises the pressure within the compartment so that the blood supply to the muscle is cut off, causing ischaemia and further swelling. If it persists, the muscles and nerves within the compartment die, leading to Volkmann's contracture. Causes are trauma, damage to blood vessels, reperfusion after ischaemia, and tight casts or bandages. Treatment is to release any tight dressings and to divide the fascia surrounding the compartment to relieve the pressure.

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compartmental syndrome a condition in which increased tissue pressure in a confined anatomical space causes decreased blood flow leading to ischemia and dysfunction of contained myoneural elements, marked by pain, muscle weakness, sensory loss, and palpable tenseness in the involved compartment. Ischemia can lead to necrosis resulting in permanent impairment of function.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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