Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome is Frequently Diagnosed Through Static Compartment Pressure Measurements and Managed with Fasciotomy: A Systematic Review.
OBJECTIVES: Chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) can be diagnosed either clinically or with intra-compartmental pressure monitor measurements and can be treated surgically or conservatively.
METHODS: A systematic review was performed on diagnostic and treatment modalities for CECS. Included studies were those that reported both their specific diagnostic modality and treatment regimens. Both surgical and conservative treatment strategies were considered. Demographic variables, diagnostic modalities, patient satisfaction and return to sport, the number of surgical incisions used for the anterior compartment fasciotomy and the specific conservative treatment regimens were also recorded. Diagnostic modalities were grouped into one of three groups: 1) static compartment pressure monitor, 2) dynamic pressure monitoring, and 3) strictly clinical diagnosis.
RESULTS: The literature search identified 373 studies, of which 29 were included for final analysis. In total there were 1270 total patients. Twenty-four studies used static compartment pressure monitors, 5 studies used dynamic pressure monitors and 2 studies used a strictly clinical diagnosis. Surgical management with fasciotomy was performed in 25 studies with a total of 1018 patients, while conservative management was used in 252 patients in 9 studies (5 studies included surgical and conservative treatments). Among surgical studies, 15 used a single incision technique for anterior compartment fasciotomy, while 6 used a 2-incision technique. The reported satisfaction after fasciotomy was 42-94% while the return to sport was 26-100%. The reported return to sport in conservative management studies was 25-35%.
CONCLUSION: This systematic review found that the majority of clinical reports utilize static compartment pressure measurements to diagnose CECS, with fewer studies using dynamic intra-compartment pressure monitors. Additionally, surgical fasciotomy using a single incision technique was the most common treatment strategy for anterior compartment CECC, with some studies reporting success with the two-incision technique.
STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review, level 4.
Dean RS, Farley KX, Waterman BR, Guettler J, Bicos J. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is frequently diagnosed through static compartment pressure measurements and managed with fasciotomy: a systematic review. J ISAKOS. 2023 Sep 29:S2059-7754(23)00570-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jisako.2023.09.005. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37778507.