Compartment Syndrome of the Arm After Cable-Wakeboard Accident

Barendse-Hofmann, Minke G.; Steenvoorde, Pascal; van Doorn, Louk; Zeillemaker, Anneke
February 2009
European Journal of Trauma & Emergency Surgery;Feb2009, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p74
Academic Journal
A compartment syndrome is an increased tissue pressure within a closed osteofascial compartment. This compromises blood flow to the muscles and nerves within that compartment, which –if not treated adequately in an early stage-results in permanent tissue and nerve damage. It most frequently occurs in the lower leg, but can also occur elsewhere when muscles are enclosed in tight fascial compartments, such as the forearm and hand. In this report a patient is described who developed an acute compartment syndrome of the arm after a cable-wakeboard accident in which his arm was strangulated. Cable-wakeboarding is an extreme sport that has become very popular over the last years. Early recognition and treatment of an acute compartment syndrome is of extreme importance since in short term necrotic muscles can lead to severe irreversible complications. Accidents with cable-wakeboarding often occur during the start. This is caused by the strong forces that are on the cable during the start. Strangulation injuries of the arm can cause a compartment syndrome of the arm. Possibly a wet-suit or dry-suit offers some protection. However, the duration of strangulation determines much of the damage. Although diagnosis of a compartment syndrome can be difficult, a high index of suspicion combined with fast and adequate treatment with a fasciotomy improve outcome and prognosis.


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