Factors affecting forearm compartment pressures in children with supracondylar fractures of the humerus

Todd C. Battaglia, Douglas G. Armstrong, Richard M. Schwend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study evaluated forearm compartment pressures in 29 children with supracondylar humerus fractures. Pressures were measured before and after reduction in the dorsal, superficial volar, and deep volar compartments at the proximal 1/6th and proximal 1/3rd forearm. Pressures in the deep volar compartment were significantly elevated compared with pressures in other compartments. There were also significantly higher pressures closer to the elbow within each compartment. Fracture reduction did not have a consistent immediate effect on pressures. The effect of elbow flexion on post-reduction pressures was also evaluated; flexion beyond 90° produced significant pressure elevation. We conclude that forearm pressures after supracondylar fracture are greatest in the deep volar compartment and closer to the fracture site. Pressures greater than 30 mm Hg may exist without clinical evidence of compartment syndrome. To avoid unnecessary elevation of pressures, elbows should not be immobilized in >90° of flexion after these injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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