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What causes compartment syndrome?

During a car accident, there are a variety of catastrophic injuries that you may encounter. One of these injuries includes compartment syndrome.

According to WebMD, compartment syndrome can cause permanent injuries without intervention.

Compartment syndrome explained

A patient may develop compartment syndrome following crush injuries, bone fractures, blood clots or burns. A broken arm or leg accounts for about three-fourths of all cases of acute compartment syndrome. After an injury, blood and fluid may begin to accumulate in a patient's body. Unfortunately, the fascia cannot expand fast enough as the fluid fills the compartment. The compartment pressure rises and prevents blood flow to other tissues. As the pressure increases, tissue damage begins to occur. You have a higher likelihood of experiencing compartment syndrome in your abdomen, legs or arms.

Compartment syndrome symptoms

Generally, the symptoms of compartment syndrome develop within a few hours of the initial injury. Suppose you develop compartment syndrome in your arm or leg. In that case, you may experience a deep and persistent ache in your limb, numbness and pins and needles or pain that increases at a greater level than expected for the injury. You may also notice bruising, tightness and swelling in the area.

To determine if a patient has compartment syndrome, the medical provider has to measure the pressure inside the compartment directly. To do this, doctors use a needle inserted in the compartment.

To treat compartment syndrome, medical professionals have to reduce the pressure in the body's compartment. They may have to remove any material, such as clothing, casts or splints that constrict the body. For those with acute compartment syndrome, most need surgery quickly to reduce the pressure.

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