Management of Acute Compartment Syndrome

Col. Patrick M. Osborn, MD; Andrew H. Schmidt, MD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2020;28(3):e108-e114. 

In This Article


The AAOS/Major Extremity Trauma and Rehabilitation Consortium Management of Acute Compartment Syndrome Clinical Practice Guideline are evidence-based recommendations summarized in Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, Table 4 and Table 5. Discussions of how each recommendation was developed and the complete evidence report are contained in the full guideline at (Figure 1). Readers are urged to consult the full guideline for the comprehensive evaluation of the available scientific studies. The recommendations were established using methods of evidence-based medicine that rigorously control for bias, enhance transparency, and promote reproducibility.

The Summary of Recommendations is not intended to stand alone. Medical care should be based on evidence, a physician's expert judgment, and the patient's circumstances, values, preferences, and rights. For treatment procedures to provide benefit, mutual collaboration with shared decision making between the patient and physician/allied healthcare provider is essential.

A strong recommendation means that the quality of the supporting evidence is high. A moderate recommendation means that the benefits exceed the potential harm (or that the potential harm clearly exceeds the benefits in the case of a negative recommendation), but the quality/applicability of the supporting evidence is not as strong. A limited recommendation means that there is a lack of compelling evidence that has resulted in an unclear balance between benefits and potential harm. A consensus recommendation means that expert opinion supports the guideline recommendation, although there is no available empirical evidence that meets the inclusion criteria of the guideline's systematic review.