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Acute impending compartment syndrome during elective spine surgery: a rare occurrence
  1. Tat Boon Yeap1,
  2. Nur Shazwani Shabani2,
  3. Chin Pei Bong3 and
  4. Hai Siang Tan2
  1. 1Medicine Based Disciplines Department, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  2. 2Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Queen Elizabeth 2, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  3. 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital Queen Elizabeth 2, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tat Boon Yeap; boontat{at}


Intraoperative impending compartment syndrome (ICS) is an extremely rare but lethal occurrence that can involve the upper and/or lower limb(s). It commonly occurs in patients who undergo anaesthesia in various special positions such as lithotomy, lateral decubitus or prone. We present a patient who developed an ICS of his left forearm during a cervical spine surgery in prone position. This devastating condition was fortunately identified when the pulse oximetry, intra-arterial wave form and motor-evoked potentials signal disappeared abruptly from our monitors. We discuss our perioperative challenges and management for the patient which had eventually saved the patient’s limb.

  • anaesthesia
  • orthopaedics
  • orthopaedic and trauma surgery

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  • Contributors NSS and HST were the anaesthesiologists in charge of the patient. CPB and TBY were main contributory authors for this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.