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Delayed Presentation of Acute Gluteal Compartment Syndrome

James J. Tasch, Emmanuel O. Misodi

(Graduate Medical Education, Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Elmira, NY, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2016; 17:503-506

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.899249


BACKGROUND: Acute gluteal compartment syndrome is a rare condition that usually results from prolonged immobilization following a traumatic event, conventionally involving the presence of compounding factors such as alcohol or opioid intoxication. If delay in medical treatment is prolonged, severe rhabdomyolysis may ensue, leading to acute renal failure and potentially death.
CASE REPORT: We report the case of a 23-year-old male with a recent history of incarceration and recreational drug use, who presented with reports of severe right-sided buttock pain and profound right-sided neurological loss following a questionable history involving prolonged immobilization after a fall from a standing position. The patient required an emergent gluteal fasciotomy immediately upon admission and required temporary hemodialysis. After an extended hospital stay, he ultimately recovered with only mild deficits in muscular strength in the right lower extremity.
CONCLUSIONS: This report demonstrates the importance of early recognition of gluteal compartment syndrome to prevent morbidity and mortality. Compartment syndrome presents in many unique ways, and healthcare practitioners must have a keen diagnostic sense to allow for early surgical intervention. Proper wick catheter measurements should be utilized more frequently, instead of relying on clinical symptomatology such as loss of peripheral pulses for diagnosis of compartment syndrome.

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