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Acute Traumatic Compartment Syndrome of the Forearm

Literature Review and Unfavorable Outcomes Risk Analysis of Fasciotomy Treatment

Oliver, Jeremie D., BS, BA

doi: 10.1097/PSN.0000000000000255
Departments: Reconstruction Department

Forearm compartment syndrome is a relatively underreported event compared with compartment syndrome of the lower extremity or trunk. The aim of this review of the literature was to provide insight into the potential consequences of certain treatment modalities in the control of acute compartment syndrome of the forearm based on data presented over the past 44 years. A comprehensive search was conducted across several databases including EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus, capturing studies published from 1973 to 2017 to identify potential articles for inclusion in the review. Outcomes data were evaluated for each of the studies included in this analysis on the basis of treatment utilized (fasciotomy vs. no fasciotomy) and respective outcome (favorable vs. unfavorable). Relative risk (RR) analysis was performed to determine risk factors for unfavorable outcomes from the pooled data. The analysis revealed a statistically significant higher likelihood of unfavorable outcomes resulting from performing fasciotomy in the event of forearm compartment syndrome compared with conservative management (RR = 4.82, p < .01). Fasciotomy treatment was associated with a higher likelihood of patients presenting with forearm compartment syndrome to experience unfavorable outcomes. The results of this study can help guide awareness of potential sequelae of treatment choices in forearm compartment syndrome, and clinical decision-making for wise patient selection for surgical intervention, when necessary.

Jeremie D. Oliver, BS, BA, is MD-MS candidate, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Address correspondence to Jeremie D. Oliver, BS, BA, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905 (e-mail:

The author reports no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 by American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses