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Fifteen upper extremities, in 14 patients in whom incipient or actual Volkmann's ischemic contracture was present, were seen in a 5 year period. Nine patients were stuporous due to drug overdose and had laid on the extremity; two had received a recent injury of main arterial trunks; two had sudden severe compression; one with chronic myelogenous leukemia had each arm involved at different times in a bizarre autoimmune response causing massive swelling. No patient had a fracture or dislocation. Pain and tenderness, loss of sensibility, resistant muscle contracture, and rock-hard muscle compartments were warning signs. Immediate fasciotomy was done. Useful function was restored when treatment was carried out in the early stages of the ischemia.
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Received in revised form: June 29, 1976
Received: February 5, 1976
© 1976 American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.