Evaluation of crush syndrome patients with extremity injuries in the 2011 Van Earthquake in Turkey


  • Sukriye Ilkay Guner PhD,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. School of Health, Yuzuncu Yil University, Van, Turkey
    • Correspondence: Sukriye Ilkay Guner, Assistant Professor, School of Health, Nursing Department, Yuzuncu Yil Universitesi, Saglik Yuksek Okulu, 65200 Van, Turkey. Telephone: +90 532 6462854.

      E-mail: ilkay.guner@hotmail.com

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  • Mehmet Resit Oncu MD

    Assistant Professor
    1. Department of Emergency Medicine, Yuzuncu Yil University Medical School Hospital, Van, Turkey
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Aims and objectives

To perform a descriptive analysis of crush syndrome patients with extremity injuries, which will be used as a reference for future disasters.


In disasters like earthquake, cooperation among medical workers is very important for the follow-up and treatment of patients. Knowing the complications that may emerge with the crush syndrome is one of the responsibilities of the nurses.


Descriptive analysis.


The medical records of patients with crush syndrome following the 2011 Van Earthquake were retrospectively reviewed. The results were compared with the current literature.


Of the 46 patients with crush syndrome who had extreme trauma, 26 (57%) were men, 20 (43%) were women, and the average age was 38·9 ± 12·5. Fasciotomy was performed in 21 of the patients due to progressive compartment syndromes. Amputations were performed in seven patients who had previously undergone a fasciotomy. Sepsis was observed in seven patients, wound infection in 18, pericardial effusion in three and pleural effusion in two. Additionally, femoral fracture was observed in one patient, tibial fractures in five, haemothorax in three, abdominal traumas in seven and pulmonary embolism in one.


Wound care and antibiotic treatment are important to prevent infections in crush injury. In addition to this, dehydration and electrocardiography changes in hyperkalaemia are observed in crush syndrome. Nurses have significant responsibilities to follow up these observations and their implications.

Relevance to clinical practice

The results of this study may provide the basis for developing strategies in future for optimising attempts to rescue and the nurse care planning of survivors with crush injuries and crush syndrome after earthquakes.