SICU Nursing Perspective: Compartment Syndrome

Specialties MICU


Hi everyone-

I'm on the final stretch of my BSN and was interested in doing a project relevant to SICU/MICU Nursing. Up to this point I've only worked in a trauma ICU as a tech but from that experience I noticed on the few times it occured that compartment syndrome might be worth investigating. Thinking back I remember one case where it was a 35 y/o male with an occlusive abdominal dressing post MVA. He started simply with the p02 dropping, then HR went up, and pressure down. I remember an RN obtaining a bladder pressure but everyone still wasn't too sure what was going on (especially the resident) till we had some more senior RN's in the room.

I was thinking of investigating something allong the lines of "Compartment Syndrome: Early Recognition, Signs & Symptoms for the SICU Nurse" Maybe talk abotu the pathophysiology of whats happening and dedicate it to early signs & symptoms from the SICU nursing prospective. Let me know if that sounds like something you'd be interested in or maybe its a topic you've heard a lot about already. Not many of my faculty have SICU experience so I know this forum would be the best place to sound off about it. Thanks ahead of time for reading, any thoughts, or observations you might have.


It sounds like you are speaking from an experience of abdominal compartment syndrome. Just remember that compartment syndrome alone can include a wide variety of pathologies and treatments. Increased intracranial pressure is a compartment syndrome, compartment syndrome commonly occurs in the layers of muscles, or even cardiac tamponade is a form of compartment syndrome.

If this was a situation that you reallly were fascinated with, then go for it. Learn all that you can about the signs and symptoms of abdominal compartment syndrome. It very much is an underdiagnosed complication, particularly in the SICU. And as you probably know, if your gut is dead- it is only a matter of time.

Good luck.


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I have a brief powerpoint on abd. compartment syndrome. PM with your email addy if you want a copy.


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