Prognostic Risk Factors for the Development of Compartment Syndrome in Acute Lower Limb Ischemia Patients Treated With Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis

Published:January 29, 2022DOI:


      To determine predisposing factors that may lead to the development of compartment syndrome (CS) in patients with acute lower limb ischemia (ALLI) managed with intra-arterial catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT).


      This is a retrospective study of patients admitted between 01/2002 and 12/2015 to three university hospitals in Tampere, Turku, and Oulu, Finland, with acute or acute-on-chronic lower limb ischemia (Rutherford I–IIb). Patients managed with CDT and aspiration thrombectomies (AT) as an adjunct to CDT were included in the study. Multivariable binary logistic regression models were used to detect possible risk factors for the development of CS and its impact on the limb salvage and survival. Amputation-free survival (AFS) rates of CS and non-CS patients were compared using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The length of hospitalization was calculated and compared between the CS and non-CS groups.


      A total of 292 CDTs with or without ATs were performed on patients with a mean age of 71 years (standard deviation 13 years), 151 (51.7%) being male. Altogether, 12/292 (4.1%) treatment-related CS cases were registered. Renal insufficiency (odds ratio [OR] 4.27, P = 0.07) was associated with an increased risk of CS. All CS cases were managed with fasciotomies. Treatment with fasciotomy was associated with a prolonged hospitalization of a median of 7 days versus the 4 days for non-CS patients, P < 0.001. During the median follow-up of 51 months (interquartile range 72 months), 152/292 (52.1%) patients died and 51/292 (17.5%) underwent major amputations. CS was not associated with an increased risk of mortality, but it was associated with a higher risk of major amputation (OR 3.87, P = 0.027). The AFS rates of patients with or without CS did not significantly differ from each other in the long term.


      CS after CDT for the treatment of ALLI is uncommon. Renal insufficiency is associated with an increased risk of CS. Fasciotomy prolongs the hospitalization. Patients with CS are exposed to an increased risk of major amputation.


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