Fifty-five studies (1,920 fasciotomies) were included in the review.
Diagnosis results: According to two studies that compared criteria used to diagnose acute compartment syndrome with fasciotomy outcome, pressure monitoring was an unreliable indicator with low specificity that led to more fasciotomies than necessary being performed.
Final outcome results (41 studies, 1,395 patients): Reported numbers of patients with each outcome were: 1,003 patients (72% reported as 73%) had outcomes the reviewers classed as acceptable; 249 (18%) had outcomes the reviewers classed as unacceptable; 75 (5.5%) had amputations the reviewers attributed to acute compartment syndrome (out of 83 total amputations); and 46 (3.3%) died due to acute compartment syndrome complications (out of 60 deaths in total).
Time from admission or diagnosis to fasciotomy appeared to affect the outcome. Of 717 patients who had fasciotomies with six hours of admission or diagnosis, 632 (88%) had an outcome the reviewers classified as acceptable; of the 94 patients who had fasciotomies more than 12 hours after admission or diagnosis, 12 (15%) had acceptable outcomes.