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Medical Treatment of Crush Injuries

Posted on December 5, 2019

Crush injuries are diagnosed in about one fifth of Level I trauma center admissions. Approximately 75% of crush injuries affect the legs, and 10% affect the arms. When a crush injury occurs due to the fault of another person or because of a product defect, the victim has the right to seek compensation from those responsible.

What Is A Crush Injury?

A crush injury occurs when force or pressure is put on a body part, most often as the result of the body part being squeezed between two heavy objects. The injuries are severe as they are caused by direct physical trauma to the extremities or other parts of the body from an external crushing force. Crush injury causes muscle swelling in the affected areas of the body. In extreme cases, muscle necrosis and neurologic dysfunction can ravage affected areas. Injured muscles also release protein compounds called myoglobin, which can lead to acute kidney injury. There is only a narrow window of time in which to provide necessary treatment to victims of crush injury and hopefully limit the potential for kidney injury.

Crush injury presents two ways: as compartment syndrome, which is a localized injury, and as crush syndrome, which is a systemic injury.

Compartment Syndrome: Compartments are groups of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels surrounded by fascia. Compartment syndrome develops when swelling or bleeding occurs within a compartment, restricting blood flow, oxygen perfusion and waste removal leading to tissue ischemia. The “five P’s” used to diagnose compartment syndrome are pain, pallor, paresthesia, pulse, and paralysis.

Crush Syndrome: Also known as traumatic rhabdomyolysis or Bywaters’ syndrome, crush syndrome involves major shock and kidney failure after a crushing injury to skeletal muscle.

Treating Crush Injuries

According to EMS World, medical professionals evaluate these serious injuries by assessing the patient for hypovolemic shock, acute renal failure, and metabolic abnormalities. While patients can be treated with one or more of the following: pain management, tourniquets, or amputation, there is no true pre-hospital treatment available for these catastrophic injuries.

Crush injuries may result in permanent disability or death; therefore, early recognition and aggressive treatment are necessary to improve outcomes for crush injury victims.

Personal Injury Lawyers

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