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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1993 Jan;(286):257-61.

Occlusion of arterial flow in the extremities at subsystolic pressures through the use of wide tourniquet cuffs.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Tourniquet-induced peripheral neuropathy is at least partially attributable to excessive forces applied to the nerves beneath cuffs inflated to high pressures. Lowering the inflation pressure to the minimum necessary to obtain an effective arrest of blood flow distal to the tourniquet cuff should increase the safety of these systems. Tourniquet cuffs with widths varying from 4.5 cm to 80 cm were applied to the upper and lower extremities of 34 healthy, normotensive volunteers. Occlusion pressure for the arterial system under study was estimated by determining that level of cuff inflation at which the distal pulse became detectable by ultrasonic flowmetry. The occlusion pressure was inversely proportional to the ratio of tourniquet cuff width to limb circumference and was in the subsystolic range at a cuff width to limb circumference ratio above 0.5. Wide tourniquet cuffs can achieve an effective arrest of the regional arterial circulation at subsystolic pressures of inflation. Wide cuffs may reduce the risk of tourniquet-induced injury to underlying soft tissues by lowering the inflation pressure required to secure a bloodless field.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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