Crush syndrome

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The assessment, management, and treatment of the entrapped victim are critical skills needed to ensure a successful outcome. Individuals have been trapped in the “rubble” for even short periods of time only to succumb to predictable consequences of muscle compression injury. The clinician should be prepared to address issues of crush syndrome (including compartment syndrome) proactively and aggressively. The history of this disease is clear and well documented both in the military literature and in the earthquake rescue reviews. The key to management is managing and predicting clinical conditions before they present themselves. The potential exists in the urban environment (with the potential of building collapses) to have patients with crush syndrome that far exceed local medical capabilities should be part of modern disaster planning. This article reviews the various body systems and presents management and assessment strategies for the clinician.

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