Compartment syndrome will be commonly encountered by emergency physicians in cases of trauma or infection of the distal limbs.
It should be considered in any significant mechanism injury as well as in cases of pain out of proportion to the injury. The 6P’s of vascular compromise (pain, pallor, perishing cold, paraesthesia, pulselessness, paralysis) are classic but often late signs.
Definitive diagnosis can be made by measuring the compartment pressure. Watch FACEM Dr Neil Long demonstrate this using common ED equipment (IVC, arterial line transducer, sterile field).