Background: Acute compartment syndrome of the thigh is an uncommon
condition that is associated with a high rate of morbidity. Because of its
rarity, limited information is available on the long-term functional outcome
for patients with this condition and the factors that affect the clinical
Methods: Eighteen patients with acute compartment syndrome of the
thigh were evaluated at an average of sixty-two months after treatment.
Functional outcome was evaluated by means of physical examination, isokinetic
thigh-muscle testing, and validated functional outcome scores.
Results: Long-term functional deficits were present in eight
patients, and only five patients had full recovery of thigh-muscle strength.
The persistent dysfunction was reflected in worse overall functional outcome
scores. High injury severity scores, ipsilateral femoral fracture, prolonged
intervals to decompression, the presence of myonecrosis at the time of
fasciotomy, and an age of more than thirty years were associated with
increased long-term functional deficits, persistent thigh-muscle weakness, and
worse functional outcome scores.
Conclusions: Acute compartment syndrome of the thigh is often
associated with considerable long-term morbidity. Several factors can affect
the functional outcome, and knowledge of these factors can help in the
development of a more effective clinical management strategy to reduce
Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level II. See Instructions
to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.