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Crush injuries may result from a variety of situations, including vehicle entrapment, falling debris, industrial accidents or by prolonged pressure to a part of the body due to one’s own body weight in an immobile person.

Crush syndrome refers to the multiple problems that may subsequently develop, most commonly as a result of crush injuries to the limbs, particularly the legs.

Crush syndrome results from disruption of the body’s chemistry and can result in kidney, heart and other problems.

The likelihood of developing acute crush syndrome is directly related to the compression time, therefore crushed persons should be released as quickly as possible, irrespective of how long they have been trapped.

    Signs and symptoms

    Crush injury should be suspected whenever there is a crushing force. A crush injury should be suspected whenever a part of the body is crushed or compressed or when you are unable to fully see or examine a part of the body.

    Persons with crush injuries may show symptoms and signs of:

    • Bleeding;
    • Shock; and
    • Hypothermia.


    If the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, follow ANZCOR Basic Life Support Flowchart

    1. Ensure your safety and the safety of others
    2. Call an ambulance
    3. If it is safe to do so and physically possible, remove all crushing forces from the person as soon as possible
    4. Control any external bleeding
    5. Treat other injuries
    6. Maintain body temperature (prevent hypothermia).
    7. Reassure and constantly re-check the person’s condition for any deterioration
    8. If the person is unconscious and breathing normally, place the onto the recovery position monitoring them until help arrives.
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