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A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2007 April;48(2):249-52

language: English

Lower extremity compartment sindrome following coronary artery bypass

Papas T. T. 1, Mikroulis D. 2, Papanas N. 3, Lazarides M. K. 1, Bougioukas G. 2

1 Department of Vascular Surgery Democritus University of Thrace Alexandroupolis, Greece
2 Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
3 Second Department of Internal Medicine Democritus University of Thrace, Greece


Compartment syndrome is a constellation of symptoms and signs associated with abnormally elevated tissue pressure in the skeletal muscle of the extremities. It is manifested in anatomic locations where muscles are enveloped in fasciae. The case of a lower extremity compartment syndrome in a 71-year-old male patient who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and simultaneous aortic valve surgery is reported. Preoperative evaluation revealed severe peripheral vascular disease. The patient underwent triple CABG using the left internal thoracic artery and two vein grafts. The right great saphenous vein was used for these vein grafts. The aortic valve was replaced with a biologic prosthesis. On postoperative day 1, the patient complained of pain and oedema in the right calf. The next day, symptoms worsened, with marked sensory loss, motor weakness and foot drop in the affected limb. Triplex ultrasonography excluded deep vein thrombosis. Compartment syndrome was diagnosed and successfully managed by fasciotomy. This case illustrates that compartment syndrome may, although rarely, be a complication of CABG.

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