Pediatric Acute Compartment Syndrome

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Pediatric acute compartment syndrome (PACS) is a clinical entity that must be carefully differentiated from the adult version (ie, acute compartment syndrome). Healthcare providers must understand the variable etiologies of PACS, of which trauma is the most common but can also include vascular insult, infection, surgical positioning, neonatal phenomena, overexertion, and snake and insect bites. In addition to the unique etiologies of PACS, providers must also recognize the different signs and symptoms of PACS. The three As (ie, anxiety, agitation, analgesic requirement) of PACS have supplanted the classic adult signs as being more accurate and allowing earlier detection. In children with questionable clinical signs but concern for PACS, compartment pressure measurement may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Overall, outcomes after fasciotomy in children tend to be excellent; however, diagnostic delays secondary to unfamiliar clinical scenarios can lead to myonecrosis and subsequent poor outcomes.

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