Boston workers could face severe injury from a condition they may never have heard of — acute compartment syndrome (ACS). The condition can develop in the muscles of a worker’s limbs following a fracture or a crushing injury.
Acute compartment syndrome is a serious complication that requires immediate surgical intervention to prevent paralysis of the affected limb. In the most critical cases, a surgeon may need to amputate part of the limb if blood flow has been blocked to it for too long.
This is a very painful condition marked by immobility of the affected limb, a bloodless appearance, numbness and poor pulses. ACS can appear in the minutes and hours following the initial injury or fracture and might develop once the blood flow is restored to the restricted compartment.
As many as 75 percent of the ACS cases stem from broken bones. This is especially important to remember, as workers may shrug off an injury as not that bad while the damage continues to worsen.
Within the muscle compartment are blood vessels, tissues and nerves contained inside strong, fibrous fascia that is unyielding. After an injury, pressure builds up inside the compartment and cuts off the flow of blood to the injury site. Tissue that is deprived of oxygen-rich blood will soon become necrotic and die. When that stage is reached before medical help is sought, the outcome generally is quite poor for the limb.
Did you suffer compartment syndrome as a complication of your on-the-job injury? If so, your recovery could be long and costly. Seeking workers’ compensation benefits can alleviate your financial stress and offer you the treatment that you need to fully recover.