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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2007 August;62(4):285-92

language: Italian

Crush syndrome

Scapellato S., Maria S., Castorina G., Sciuto G.

U.O. Clinicizzata di Chirurgia d’Urgenza Sezione di Chirurgia D’Urgenza e Generale Dipartimento di Chirurgia Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria Vittorio Emanuele II, Ferrarotto, S. Bambino Università degli Studi di Catania, Catania


Crush injuries and crush syndrome are common after natural (e.g. earthquake, landslides, tornados, tsunami) or man-made catastrophes (e.g. wars, terrorist attacks), in fact the history of this disease is well reported both in earthquake rescue reviews and in military literature. However, there are instances due to conventional causes, such as building collapses, road traffic accident, accident at work or altered level of consciousness after stroke or drug overdose. These situations of “big or small” catastrophes can occur at any time and anywhere, for this reason every clinician should be prepared to address issues of crush syndrome quickly and aggressively. The treatment has to manage and to predict clinical conditions before they present themselves. In particular, acute renal failure is one of the few life-threatening complications that can be reversed. This article reviews the various evidences and summarizes the treatment strategies available. Fundamental targets in crush syndrome management are early aggressive hydration, urine alkalinization and, when possible, forced diuresis. Since electrolyte imbalance may be fatal due to arrhythmias secondary to hyperkalemia (especially associated with hypocalcemia), it’s necessary to correct these abnormalities using insulin-glucose solution and/or potassium binders, and if nevertheless serum potassium levels remain high this serious disease will necessitate dialysis, which is often a vital procedure.

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