The Steyn Injury
May 07, 2013, 05:33:56
I have never heard of a rugby injury where "Compartment pressure" was mentioned as a result of the injury - at least it was nver reported in the media. I consequently looked up the term on the internet and wish to quote the following:-
"Compartment syndrome is a limb- and life-threatening condition which occurs after an injury, when there is not a sufficient amount of blood to supply the muscles and nerves with oxygen and nutrients because of the raised pressure within the compartment such as the arm, leg or any enclosed space within the body and leads to nerve damage because of the lack of blood supply. The severity of compartment syndrome can be divided into acute, subacute, and chronic compartment syndrome".
"Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency requiring immediate surgical treatment, known as a fasciotomy, to allow the pressure to return to normal. An acute compartment syndrome has some distinct features such as swelling of the compartment due to inflammation and arterial occlusion. Decompression of the nerve traversing the compartment might alleviate the symptoms (Rorabeck, 1984). It usually occurs in the upper or lower limb after an injury. During compartment syndrome there is increased intra-compartmental pressure due to the accumulation of necrotic debris and haemorrhage, especially haemorrhage secondary to fractures (Rorabeck, 1984). Acute compartment syndrome (ACS) of the lower extremity is a clinical condition that is seen fairly regularly in modern practice (Shagdan, 2010). Although pathophysiology of the disorder is well known to physicians who care for patients with musculoskeletal injuries, the diagnosis is often difficult to make (Shagdan, 2010). If left untreated, acute compartment syndrome can lead to more severe conditions including rhabdomyolysis and kidney failure potentially leading to death."
Although there are less serious classifications of the syndrome - the fact that an operation was immediately done indicates that it was the acutte version of the syndrome in Steyn's case. The above did not mention a second operation - which was also to be done on Tuesday in New Zealand - apparently already done. That is a further indication that it was in fact acute compartment syndrome.
This is indeed a serious problem and one can only hope and pray for Steyn's full recovery from the injury and complications resulting from it.