A rapid and convenient method for determining limb compartment pressure

William Chu, Jiun Hung Lin, Shih Tsang Tang, Woei Chyn Chu, Shuenn Tsong Young*, Chia Tai Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Compartment syndrome (CS) is the pressure increasing within a confined anatomic space, which results in ischemia to the encompassed tissues and then leads to cells death. If left untreated, CS results in irreversible cell damage, further permanently postischemic scarring and contracture. The intracompartmental pressure is a major diagnostic consideration. Various methods of compartment pressure (CP) measurement have been developed since the late 1800s. They can be classified into invasive and noninvasive categories. Invasive methods are accurate but painful; whereas noninvasive approaches are more comfortable but less accurate. Both methods provide reproducible outcomes but also require specific CP measurement instrument to be performed. This research proposes a rapid and convenient method via examining ultrasonographic fascia wall displacement. For the viscoelastic nature of the compartment fascia, our experiment results have shown the ultrasonographic fascia displacement accurately reflects even small changes of the compartment diameter. There is a strong correlation between compartment pressure and fascia displacement ratio. It also recommends that the ratio of 1.4 could be chosen as the critical value for determining acute compartment syndrome. These results suggest that ultrasonography may serve as an adequate noninvasive tool to monitor CP variations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-444
Number of pages10
JournalBiomedical Engineering - Applications, Basis and Communications
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Compartment pressure
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Ultrasonography


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