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February 1954


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; the Neurological Institute of the Presbyterian Hospital, and the Hospital for Special Surgery.

AMA Arch Surg. 1954;68(2):136-144. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1954.01260050138002

A TOURNIQUET is usually applied as a first-aid measure to stop bleeding when blood vessels are damaged in battle casualties as well as with injuries in civilian life. It is also widely used in orthopedic, nerve, or plastic surgery when a bloodless field is required.

Paralysis induced by a tourniquet is said to be rare, and very few cases have been reported in the literature. The statistics would probably be increased if one were more aware of the existence of the characteristic clinical syndrome which may follow the application of a tourniquet and which is the subject of this paper.

This complication can be overlooked for several reasons. First, the paralysis and the associated phenomena can be of relatively short duration. Secondly, the lesion can be a mild one and result in an incomplete paralysis, which may be interpreted as difficulty in moving the parts because of the surgery. And,

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