Table 4

Comparative study and literature review about acute compartment syndrome in the upper limb

AuthorUpper limb cases (n)Follow-up (mon),
mean (range)
Common presentationAssociated fractureCompartment pressureCompartment syndrome >12 h after
injury to fasciotomy, mean (range)
Additional procedureWound closureTime
to motor/sensory recovery
Motor recovery2PDRange of
Bae et al 3 1726.1 (3–79)Crush/avulsion/ clean/dog biteClosed: 9, open injuries: 8Pain (88%) paresthesia (61%) paralysis (36%)Fractures (74%)61%>30 mmHg
<2 with <30 mmHg
1130.5 h* (range 3–144)
16 had >12 h
Skin grafting 3/1712/17 delayed closureNANANANAElbow stiffness, radial growth arrest
Erdös et al 10 5 (<12 y)
1 (15–18 y)
NAPedestrians struckNANAMajority of study focused towards lower limb compartment syndrome30%–50% (range 30–60 mmHg)12.5–99.0 hSkin grafting 3Temporary closure with epiguard synthetic skin substituteNANANANA4.2% permanent contractures
/epiphysiolysis of distal radius
Grottkau et al 2 20NAPedestrians struckOpen: 9
Closed: 11
RR 2.2 for open
NAFA fractures (74%) SC (15%) carpal/metcarpal (11%) comatose (14%)NA40% went undiagnosed initially, one patient diagnosed after 4 d of injurySix hands no fasciotomyNANANANANANANA
Kanj et al 15 236 or follow-up to complete recoveryFractures (57%), fall from height/crush injury/
intravenous infiltrates 4/23
Five no fracture cases, NA data about open/close injuryPain (83%), swelling (65%), paralysis (22%–26%), pulseless (9%)NA17/23 >30 mmHg3/2332.8 h (3.7–158.0)NANANANANAExcellent/fair/poor4% poor outcome
(one had sensory deficit; one both motor and sensory deficits), 4 had stiffness with no FA rotations
Prasarn et al 9 1422 (NA)Long bone fracture58% iatrogenic, intravenous infiltration, gunshot, road traffic injuryObtunded sensorium (83%)
difficult in examination
Zone 2/3 of Foucher: 14/6NA29.4 h (2–24)Contracture release/skin grafting (6.7 mon)NANANANANA58% normal outcome; three amputation
McQueen et al 16 23NADistal radius (15), FA (13 mixed with adults)Pedestrian injury, crush 59 patients (36%) and of the distal radius in 16 (9.8%)Injury to
the soft tissues
without a fracture occurred in
38 patients (23.2%)
Mubarak and Carroll6 21NAMotorcycle spokes
SC humerus (40%), FA fractures (40%)2012 patients (both upper and lower limbs)SC: 2
FA: 2 (brachial artery repair)
NANANANANASC: 7/9 severe deformity,
FA: 7/10 severe
Our study2467.3 (59–80)Tight oil bandage (29%)RTA/injury (70%), closed fracture
2/24 have intravenous infiltrate
Pain (76%) mixed with other 5 Ps.
Paralysis (100%)
SC humerus (20%)
FA, distal radius, proximal forearm (80%)
915 patients44 h (5–192)SC: 2/24 with brachial artery repair; redo K wire: 23 delayed closure (mean 5 d)
3 skin grafting (mean 5 d)
Radial motor 12; sensory 24 wk, median motor 10.3; sensory 13 wk
Ulnar–motor 12; sensory 19 wk
Radial 6; median 7.5 ulnar 8.5 monS4: 21 (87%)
S3: 13
6.9 mm (5–10)
FullElbow stiffness, stiff claw hand, osteomyelitis humerus, non-union SC
  • Compartmentall pressure: pressure was considered to be increased if it was either greater than 30 mmHg or if the DP was less than 30 mmHg.

  • DP, difference between the diastolic blood pressure and the intracompartmental pressure; FA, forearm; K wire, Kirschner wire; NA, not available; 2PD, 2-point discrimination; 5 Ps, pain, paresthesia, pallor, pulselessness and paralysis; RR, relative risk of 2.2 for developing a compartment syndrome in the forearm for an open fracture versus a closed fracture; RTA, road traffic accident; SC, supracondylar.