Fire EMS

Recognizing and Treating Crush Syndrome

Issue 5 and Volume 163.

BY TONY GARCIA The recent 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti trapped thousands under the rubble of collapsed buildings. News media reported dramatic rescues and raised questions about those who remained buried awaiting rescue. Victims who were located and freed face a long and difficult path to recovery because of the complications that often arise after a crush injury. The crush injury syndrome was first recognized and described during World War II in trapped victims rescued from collapsed buildings during the bombing of London, England. It was identified in victims who had one or more extremities trapped under debris for extended periods.1-6 In the current literature, building collapses resulting from earthquakes have the highest incidence of crush syndrome (Table 1). (1) Crush syndrome is also seen in victims of mine collapses, industrial accidents, and explosions. (5) It has also been reported in situations where a patient with altered mental state (e.g., as…

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