Drs. Todd Yip and Bart Demaerschalk conducted a study to determine if there
was a connection between the treatment for ischemic strokes and compartment
syndrome. With their patient, they did find a correlation between the
two medical diagnoses.
Ischemic strokes are normally caused by blood clots that prevent oxygenated
blood from flowing to the brain. Such a stroke usually occurs because
of high levels of fatty deposits that line the blood vessels. For individuals
who suffer from an ischemic stroke, an intravenous tissue plaminogen activator
(tPA) is usually administered to break down the blood clot and get the
blood flowing to the brain again.
To achieve their case results, Drs. Yip and Demaerschalk studied a 70-year-old
woman who was brought into the hospital because of weakness in her left
side and an onset of dysarthria (the loss or confusion of speech). Because
of the stroke, she had fallen on her left side. When the patient was brought
into the hospital, she also suffered from:
- Left hemineglect
- Preference of the right gaze
- Left facial weakness
- Loss of sensation on the left side
The doctors identified her National Institute of Health Stroke Scale Score
(NIHSSS) to be 18, which was a moderate to high stroke. Doctors administered
.9 milligrams/kilograms of tPA. Within 2 hours, the patient’s NIHSSS
came down to a 10. After the tPA was given, however, the patient experienced
bruising, swelling, and tension in her left forearm; there was a clear
presence of compartment syndrome.
Compartment syndrome occurs when a part of the body experiences excessive
pressure usually because of swelling or bleeding. The pressure, if neglected,
can build up and prevent blood flow to vital organs. In the case of the
patient, the effects of compartment syndrome for her subsided within three days.
With their study, Drs. Yip and Demaerschalk found that, though not conclusive,
patients suffering from strokes are more susceptible to compartment syndrome.
They posit that stroke victims are more likely to experience a fall or
accident. This intern makes them more vulnerable to hematoma which can
lead to compartment syndrome.
If not properly diagnosed,
compartment syndrome can be very dangerous. Muscles, arms, legs, and more can be damaged to
the point requiring amputation. If you or a loved one has been the victim
of medical malpractice associated with compartment syndrome,contact the Portland trial attorneys at Paulson Coletti to review your legal rights.