Acute Compartment Syndrome
A pathologic condition that occurs when a compartment (the enclosed spaces in the body that hold muscles, nerves, and blood vessels) swells and increases in pressure, reducing the supply of blood to that area. This reduction in blood cannot therefore supply the muscles and nerves with oxygen and nutrients.
Typically, compartment syndrome can occur due to muscle injury, causing an increase in pressure and fluid accumulation within the compartment where the muscle is located. As a result, the muscle cells lose their blood and oxygen supply, allowing the muscle to scar down, contract and possibly die in untreated.
Symptoms can include pain to the affected area, a feeling of tightness or fullness of muscles, swollen skin over the affected area and sensation problems.
Treatment of compartment syndrome is done through a surgical process called fasciotomy, where an incision is made in the area to open the compartment of tissue and relieve pressure. Failure to do this can result in serious injury.