Risk factors for acute compartment syndrome of the leg associated with tibial diaphyseal fractures in adults

Babak Shadgan, Gavin Caesar Pereira, Matthew Menon, Siavash Jafari, W. Darlene Reid, Peter J. O’Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: We sought to examine the occurrence of acute compartment syndrome (ACS) in the cohort of patients with tibial diaphyseal fractures and to detect associated risk factors that could predict this occurrence. Materials and methods: A total of 1,125 patients with tibial diaphyseal fractures that were treated in our centre were included into this retrospective cohort study. All patients were treated with surgical fixation. Among them some were complicated by ACS of the leg. Age, gender, year and mechanism of injury, injury severity score (ISS), fracture characteristics and classifications and the type of fixation, as well as ACS characteristics in affected patients were studied. Results: Of the cohort of patients 772 (69 %) were male (mean age 39.60 ± 15.97 years) and the rest were women (mean age 45.08 ± 19.04 years). ACS of the leg occurred in 87 (7.73 %) of all tibial diaphyseal fractures. The mean age of those patients that developed ACS (33.08 ± 12.8) was significantly lower than those who did not develop it (42.01 ± 17.3, P < 0.001). No significant difference in incidence of ACS was found in open versus closed fractures, between anatomic sites and following IM nailing (P = 0.67). Increasing pain was the most common symptom in 71 % of cases with ACS. Conclusions: We found that younger patients are definitely at a significantly higher risk of ACS following acute tibial diaphyseal fractures. Male gender, open fracture and IM nailing were not risk factors for ACS of the leg associated with tibial diaphyseal fractures in adults. Level of evidence: Level IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 7 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Compartment syndrome
  • Fracture fixation intramedullary
  • Tibia fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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