Review of treatment and diagnosis of acute compartment syndrome of the calf: current evidence and best practices.

Abstract

Compartment syndrome of the calf has received a great deal of attention in the literature. A MEDLINE search was conducted to identify English-language publications pertaining to compartment syndrome of the leg and calf so that principles, recent evidence, and best practices for the diagnosis and treatment of this syndrome could be reviewed. Clinical series that reported outcomes and diagnostic criteria were reviewed and summarized. The currently available evidence is limited to level IV and V studies. Early diagnosis and treatment of compartment syndromes is associated with better results; however, many patients have chronic symptoms after treatment, even when the diagnosis is made promptly and fasciotomy is performed early. Although compartment syndrome of the leg and calf often has been described in the literature, prospective clinical series are lacking, and meaningful outcomes data are scarce. There is a need for further study on functional outcomes of acute compartment syndrome of the calf, with particular attention to diagnosis and treatment.

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