Tibial shaft fractures - to monitor or not? a multi-centre 2 year comparative study assessing the diagnosis of compartment syndrome in patients with tibial diaphyseal fractures

Matilda F. R. Powell-Bowns, Joseph E. Littlechild, Liam Z. Yapp, Alastair C. Faulkner, Timothy O. White, Margaret M. McQueen, Andrew D. Duckworth (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Aims: The aim of this study was to compare the outcome in patients who did and did not undergo continuous compartment pressure monitoring (CCPM) following a tibial diaphyseal fracture.

    Patients and methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of 287 patients with an acute tibial diaphyseal fractures who presented to three centres over a two-year period. Demographic data, diagnosis, management, wound closure, complications, and subsequent surgeries were recorded. The primary outcome measure was the rate of short-term complications. Secondary outcomes were time to fasciotomy and split-skin grafting rates.

    Results: Of the 287 patients in the study cohort, 171 patients underwent CCPM (monitored group; MG) and 116 did not (non-monitored group; NMG). There were 21 patients who developed ACS and underwent fasciotomy, with comparable rates in both groups (n=13 in the MG vs n=8 in NMG; p=0.82). There was no difference in the rate of complications between groups (all p>0.05). The mean time from admission to fasciotomy was 22.1hrs, with a mean time of 19.8hrs in the MG and 25.8hrs in the NMG (mean difference, 6hrs; p=0.301). One patient in the NMG required a below-knee amputation. There was a trend towards a reduced requirement for split-skin grafting post decompression in the MG (15% vs 50%; p=0.14).

    Conclusion: This study found no difference in the short-term complication rates in those patients that underwent CCPM and those that did not following a fracture of the tibial diaphysis. CCPM does appear to be safe with no increase in the rate of fasciotomies performed. There was a trend towards a reduced time to fasciotomy and a reduced rate of split skin grafting for wound closure with CCPM.

    Level of evidence: Level III (Diagnostic: Retrospective cohort study).

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInjury
    Early online date18 Jun 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2021

    Keywords

    • Compartment pressure monitoring
    • Compartment syndrome
    • Tibia diaphyseal fracture

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