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Tourniquet use in upper limb surgery

Oragui, E; Parsons, A; White, T; Longo, UG; Khan, WS; (2011) Tourniquet use in upper limb surgery. Hand , 6 (2) pp. 165-173. 10.1007/s11552-010-9312-6.

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Tourniquets are compressive devices that occlude venous and arterial blood flow to limbs and are commonly used in upper limb surgery. With the potential risk of complications, there is some debate as to whether tourniquets should continue to be routinely used. In this review, we first look at the different designs, principles, and practical considerations associated with the use of tourniquets in the upper limb. The modern pneumatic tourniquet has many design features that enhance its safety profile. Current literature suggests that the risk of tourniquet-related complications can be significantly reduced by selecting cuff inflation pressures based on the limb occlusion pressure, and by a better understanding of the actual level of pressure within the soft tissue, and the effects of cuff width and contour. The evidence behind tourniquet time, placement, and limb exsanguination is also discussed as well as special considerations in patients with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, vascular calcification, sickle cell disease and obesity. We also provide an evidence-based review of the variety of local and systemic complications that may arise from the use of upper limb tourniquets including pain, leakage, and nerve, muscle, and skin injuries. The evidence in the literature suggests that upper limb tourniquets are beneficial in promoting optimum surgical conditions and modern tourniquet use is associated with a low rate of adverse events. With the improvement in knowledge and technology, the incidence of adverse events should continue to decrease. We recommend the use of tourniquets in upper limb surgery where no contraindications exist. © 2010 American Association for Hand Surgery.

Type: Article
Title: Tourniquet use in upper limb surgery
DOI: 10.1007/s11552-010-9312-6
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1353566
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