Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Muscular compartment syndrome and in vivo optical spectroscopy monitoring: a new model


The muscular compartment syndrome (MCS) is consecutive to an increase in intramuscular compartment pressures [1].This is a rare but serious postoperative complication. In vivo optical spectroscopy (INVOS) monitors tissular oxygenation continuously and non-invasively. Our objective was to develop a model mimicking the physiopathology of MCS and to assess the interest of the INVOS in this case [13].


After approval of the ethics committee, we inflated a tourniquet in nine healthy volunteers at a pressure equal to the mean arterial pressure (MAP), obtaining a model of slight venous congestion and arterial hypoperfusion. The INVOS monitoring was compared with sensory deficits, pain, motor activity, electromyography and invasive pressure.


A profound motor nerve conduction block (>30% decrease in action potential amplitude from baseline) was observed in the seven volunteers completing the protocol, immediately reversible after releasing the external pressure. At baseline, the values of MAP, INVOS and intracompartmental pressure (ICP) were respectively 94.3 ± 6.5 mmHg, 73.3 ± 8.9% and 16.9 ± 8.6 mmHg. At the time of appearance of a significant block, the values of INVOS were 46.4 ± 10.9%; the absolute decrease of INVOS was 28.7 ± 10.6% and the ICP values were 70.0 ± 5.5 mmHg. The times to reach this significant block from baseline and from the time of an absolute INVOS decrease of 10% were respectively 33.0 ± 10.9 minutes and 27.43 ± 10.4 minutes (Figure 1).

Figure 1
figure 1

(abstract P448)


Our model is appropriate since it mimics perfectly MCS [3]. The time after achieving an absolute decrease of the INVOS value of 10% from baseline is as accurate as the time of intracompartmental hyperpression to predict MCS (Figure 2).

Figure 2
figure 2

(abstract P448)


  1. Elliott , et al.: J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2003, 85: 625-632.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Boushel , et al.: Acta Physiol Scand. 2000, 168: 615-622. 10.1046/j.1365-201x.2000.00713.x

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Gentilello , et al.: J Trauma. 2001, 51: 1-9. 10.1097/00005373-200107000-00001

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ponchon, F., Forget, P., Vanhoonacker, M. et al. Muscular compartment syndrome and in vivo optical spectroscopy monitoring: a new model. Crit Care 15 (Suppl 1), P448 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: