A traumatic ischemia is a condition of inadequate supply of blood to organs and body tissues as a result of a severe physical injury. Crush injuries and compartment syndrome are traumatic ischemias associated with complex wounds resulting from such traumatic injuries.
Great weight, severe blows, gunshots, or automobile and other accidents may cause crush injuries, which are compressions of the extremities or other parts of the body. Crush injuries commonly cause muscle swelling and neurologic problems. Cellular damage and damaged blood vessels are also typical. Complications include infections, nonhealing bone fractures, and amputation.
In anatomical terms, a compartment is a section of the body containing muscles and nerves which is surrounded by connective tissue (fascia). The arms and legs each have an upper and lower compartment.
Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency in which serious injury causes severe high pressure within the anatomical compartment, disrupting the blood flow in the compartment. Nerve and muscle death may result from the inadequate blood supply (ischemia) if acute compartment syndrome is untreated. Surgery is usually required.
Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is a condition in which blood flow is restricted (ischemia) in muscles as a result of extreme pressure within the muscles brought on by repetitive exercises like running or cycling. Chronic exertional comparment syndrome is typically relieved by ceasing the exercise activity, although persistent symptoms may indicate the need for medicine or surgery.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) improves the circulation of oxygenated blood to wounds to help fight infection, reduce swelling, and promote healing. The 100 percent oxygen environment and increased atmospheric pressure of HBOT increase the supply of oxygen to damaged, ischemic tissues. HBOT also reduces edema (excess fluid) in the affected area, further helping to improve blood flow. Additional benefits occur as the blood supply to damaged tissue improves.