Assessment of normal forearm compartment pressures in a Nigerian population

  • A. I. Adeyeye
  • O. Esan
  • I. C. Ikem
Original Article



The forearm is prone to raised compartment pressure and it is the second most common site for compartment syndrome. The normal compartment pressure of the forearm should be known and serve as a benchmark for the diagnosis of acute and chronic compartment syndrome. This study was aimed to determine the normal compartment pressures of the forearm using a digital compartment pressure monitor.


This was a prospective hospital-based study of the uninjured forearm in 30 patients, who presented with closed unilateral forearm fracture at the accident and emergency department of a tertiary health care facility, between June 2012 and December 2013. Approval was sought and obtained from institutions ethical committee. An 18 gauge bevelled-tip needle, attached to a Compass TM digital compartment pressure monitor made by Mirador USA, was used to measure the pressures in the compartments of the forearm. Data obtained were analysed using the Stata 12. Significance was determined at p < 0.05.


The mean age was 38.3 ± 18.3 years with male-to-female ratio of 2.3:1. The pressures in the volar compartment of the forearm ranged from 1 to 8 mmHg with a mean ± SD compartment pressure of 4.7 ± 1.5 mmHg. In the dorsal compartment the pressure ranged from 2 to 8 mmHg with a mean ± SD of 4.9 ± 1.7 mmHg SD, while the lateral compartment measurement ranged between 1 and 5 mmHg with a mean ± SD of 3.6 ± 1.1 mmHg. There was significant positive correlation (p < 0.01) between the compartment pressures in the volar, dorsal, and lateral compartments.


The normal compartment pressure for forearm is 4.4 ± 1.6 mmHg and ranged from 1 to 8 mmHg from this study in our environment. This will serve as reference value when forearm compartment pressure is being measured.


Forearm Compartment pressures Digital compartment pressure measurement 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Adeyeye AI, Esan Oluwadare, and Ikem IC declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standard of the institutional ethical committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryOndo State Trauma and Surgical CenterOndoNigeria
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and TraumatologyObafemi Awolowo University/Teaching Hospitals ComplexIle IfeNigeria

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