A human cadaver fascial compartment pressure measurement model

Frank C. Messina, Dylan Cooper, Gretchen Huffman, Edward Bartkus, Lee Wilbur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background Fresh human cadavers provide an effective model for procedural training. Currently, there are no realistic models to teach fascial compartment pressure measurement. Objectives We created a human cadaver fascial compartment pressure measurement model and studied its feasibility with a pre-post design. Methods Three faculty members, following instructions from a common procedure textbook, used a standard handheld intra-compartment pressure monitor (Stryker®, Kalamazoo, MI) to measure baseline pressures (" unembalmed") in the anterior, lateral, deep posterior, and superficial posterior compartments of the lower legs of a fresh human cadaver. The right femoral artery was then identified by superficial dissection, cannulated distally towards the lower leg, and connected to a standard embalming machine. After a 5-min infusion, the same three faculty members re-measured pressures ("embalmed") of the same compartments on the cannulated right leg. Unembalmed and embalmed readings for each compartment, and baseline readings for each leg, were compared using a two-sided paired t-test. Results The mean baseline compartment pressures did not differ between the right and left legs. Using the embalming machine, compartment pressure readings increased significantly over baseline for three of four fascial compartments; all in mm Hg (±SD): anterior from 40 (±9) to 143 (±44) (p = 0.08); lateral from 22 (±2.5) to 160 (±4.3) (p < 0.01); deep posterior from 34 (±7.9) to 161 (±15) (p < 0.01); superficial posterior from 33 (±0) to 140 (±13) (p < 0.01). Conclusion We created a novel and measurable fascial compartment pressure measurement model in a fresh human cadaver using a standard embalming machine. Set-up is minimal and the model can be incorporated into teaching curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e127-e131
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • compartment syndrome
  • education
  • fascial compartment pressure measurement
  • human cadaver
  • procedural training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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