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Region Hovedstaden - en del af Københavns Universitetshospital

Well Leg Compartment Syndrome After Abdominal Surgery

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


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BACKGROUND: Well leg compartment syndrome (WLCS) is a complication to abdominal surgery. We aimed to identify risk factors for and outcome of WLCS in Denmark and literature.

METHODS: Prospectively collected claims to the Danish Patient Compensation Association (DPCA) concerning WLCS after abdominal operations 1996-2013 and cases in literature 1970-2013 were evaluated. Cases of fasciotomy within 2 weeks after abdominal surgery 1999-2008 were extracted from the Danish National Patient Register (DNPR).

RESULTS: There were 40 cases in DPCA and 124 in literature. In 68 % legs were supported under the knees during surgery. Symptoms of WLCS presented within 2 h after surgery in 56 % and in only 3 cases after 24 h. Obesity was not confirmed as risk factor for WLCS. The mean diagnostic delay was 10 h. One-third of fasciotomies were insufficient. The diagnostic delay increased with duration of the abdominal surgery (p = 0.04). Duration of the abdominal surgery was 4 times as important as the diagnostic delay for severity of the final outcome. DNPR recorded 4 new cases/year, and half were reported to DPCA.

CONCLUSION: The first 24 h following abdominal surgery of >4 h' duration with elevated legs observation for WLCS should be standard. Pain in the calf is indicative of WLCS, and elevated serum CK can support the diagnosis. Mannitol infusion and acute four-compartment fasciotomy of the lower leg is the treatment. The risk of severe outcome of WLCS increases with duration of the primary operation. A broad support and change of legs' position during surgery are suggested preventative initiatives.

TidsskriftWorld Journal of Surgery
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)433-438
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2017

ID: 49037196