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J Hand Surg Am. 1999 Jul;24(4):687-93.

Intermittent reperfusion fails to prevent posttourniquet neurapraxia.

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Department of Orthopaedics, University of California, San Diego 92103-8894, USA.


This study examined the effects of intermittent reperfusion on peripheral nerve function. Rabbits were randomized to undergo 4 hours of 350 mm Hg tourniquet compression to a hind limb either continuously, interrupted by a single 10-minute reperfusion interval after 2 hours, or interrupted by 10 minutes of reperfusion after each hour. A control group had the tourniquet applied for 4 hours but it was never inflated. The animals were examined clinically for neuromuscular dysfunction and the structure and function of the peripheral nerves were evaluated 1 week after tourniquet compression. Animals that underwent compression had a foot drop and decreased toe-spread reflex. There was greater intraneural edema and slower nerve conduction velocity in nerve segments that were directly compressed by the tourniquet but no apparent abnormalities in segments distal to the tourniquet. Intermittent reperfusion failed to diminish the clinical, structural, or functional consequence of the neurologic injury.

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