BMJ Case Reports 2011; doi:10.1136/bcr.05.2011.4201
  • Rare disease

Volkmann ischemic contracture in a newborn

  1. Alexandra Almeida1
  1. 1Neonatology Department, Centro Hospitalar do Porto–Maternidade Júlio Dinis, Porto, Portugal
  2. 2Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, Centro Hospitalar do Porto–Hospital Maria Pia, Porto, Portugal
  3. 3Paediatric Surgery Department, Centro Hospitalar do Porto–Hospitalar Maria Pia, Porto, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marta Rios, martariospinho{at}


Congenital Volkmann ischemic contracture is a very rare condition in which a neonate presents skin, muscular and nerve lesions due to increased intracompartment pressure and subsequent ischemia, probably due to extrinsic intrauterine compression. In this age group, there are only about 50 reported cases and a specific cause is unknown. The authors describe the case of a newborn who presented with bullous and ulcerated skin lesions and nerve palsy of his forearm at birth, evolving to subcutaneous and muscular necrosis and contracture. Two surgeries were performed and the baby began a daily physiotherapy program that resulted in aesthetical improvement and recovery of his hand and forearm mobility. Early recognition of this rare entity and subsequent emergency fasciotomy are the best ways to improve prognosis.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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