Crush Injury, Compartment Syndrome and Other Acute Ischemias

Crush injuries occur when body tissues are severely traumatized such as in motor vehicle accidents, falls, and gun shot wounds. When crush injuries are severe, the rate of complications including infection, non-healing of fractures and amputations range up to 50 percent.

When used with orthopedic surgery and antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy shows promise as a way to decrease complications from severe crush injuries. HBO2 increases oxygen delivery to the injured tissues, reduces swelling and provides an improved environment for healing and fighting infection.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments should be started as soon after an injury as possible. Treatments usually continue for 5 to 6 days. A number of related conditions, including compartment syndromes, thermal burns and threatened replantations are also benefited by hyperbaric oxygen.


  1. Bouachour G, Cronier P, Gouello JP, Toulemonde JL, Talha A, Alquier P. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the management of crush injuries: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Trauma 1996;41:333-339.
  2. Gustilo R. Management of Open Fractures and their Complications. W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia 1982;202-208.
  3. Feldmeier JJ, Chairman and Editor. Hyperbaric Oxygen 2003: Indications and Results: The Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee Report. Kensington, MD: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society; 2003.
  4. Strauss M. Crush injury, compartment syndrome and other acute traumatic peripheral ischemias. In: Hyperbaric Medicine Practice. Kindwall EP and Whelan HT, eds. Best Publishing, Flagstaff, AZ 1999;753-778.

Center for Hyperbaric Medicine