Compartment syndrome (CS) is the pressure increasing within a confined anatomic space, which results in ischemia to the encompassed tissues and then leads to cells death. If left untreated, CS results in irreversible cell damage, further permanently postischemic scarring and contracture. The intracompartmental pressure is a major diagnostic consideration. Various methods of compartment pressure (CP) measurement have been developed since the late 1800s. They can be classified into invasive and noninvasive categories. Invasive methods are accurate but painful; whereas noninvasive approaches are more comfortable but less accurate. Both methods provide reproducible outcomes but also require specific CP measurement instrument to be performed. This research proposes a rapid and convenient method via examining ultrasonographic fascia wall displacement. For the viscoelastic nature of the compartment fascia, our experiment results have shown the ultrasonographic fascia displacement accurately reflects even small changes of the compartment diameter. There is a strong correlation between compartment pressure and fascia displacement ratio. It also recommends that the ratio of 1.4 could be chosen as the critical value for determining acute compartment syndrome. These results suggest that ultrasonography may serve as an adequate noninvasive tool to monitor CP variations.
W. Chu, Jiun-Hung Lin, Shih-Tsang Tang
Biomedical Engineering: Applications, Basis and Communications