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Waitematā DHB Slark Hyperbaric Unit

Public Service, Respiratory, Dermatology, Emergency, Occupational Medicine

Crush Injuries

Crush injuries occur when body tissues are severely traumatized such as in motor vehicle accidents, falls, and gunshot wounds.

These injuries frequently occur in the extremities. When crush injuries are severe, the rate of complications such as infection, non-healing of fractures and amputations range up to 50%.

When used as an adjunct to orthopaedic surgery and antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy shows promise as a way to decrease complications from severe crush injuries. HBO2 increases oxygen delivery to the injured tissues, reduces swelling and provides an improved environment for healing and fighting infection.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments should be started as soon after an injury as possible. They are usually continued for 5 to 6 days. A number of related conditions, including compartment syndromes, thermal burns, and threatened replantations are also benefited by hyperbaric oxygen, as discussed in other sections in this site.


1. Bouachour G, Cronier P, Gouello JP, Toulemonde JL, Talha A, Alquier P. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the management of crush injuries: A randomized double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial. J Trauma 1996;41:333-339.
2. Gustilo R. Management of Open Fractures and their Complications. W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia 1982;202-208.
3. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Committee. Crush injuries, compartment syndromes, and other acute traumatic ischemias. In: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: 1999 Committee Report. Hampson NB, ed. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Kensington, MD 1999;17-21.
4. Strauss M. Crush injury, compartment syndrome and other acute traumatic peripheral ischemias. In: Hyperbaric Medicine Practice. Kindwall EP and Whelan HT, eds. Best Publishing, Flagstaff, AZ 1999; 753-778.

This page was last updated at 3:43PM on May 13, 2021.