Kim et al used a mnemonic to refer to clinical findings useful to recognize a compartment syndrome. The authors are from Baylor and Northwestern Universities.


The 5 P's in the setting of a swollen and tense compartment:

(1) pain

(2) paresthesias

(3) paralysis

(4) pulselessness

(5) pallor/pale



• Tense can be referred to as "pulled tight", making a 6 P.

• Swollen can be referred to as "plump", making a 7 P.


The findings can be nonspecific but they should trigger diagnostic studies (such as intracompartment pressure measurement) that will allow early and aggressive management.


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.