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This is a very typical NCLEX-RN question that will require your understanding of how to manage emergency post-op complications in patient. It is critical that you know what you can do and what are your limitations. Your patient is lacking a distal pulse which indicates that the tissue is not being perfused adequately. Failure to perfuse the tissue can result serious degradation of the tissue if not treated immediately.

One major sign of compartment syndrome is an absent pulse to an extremity of the affected limb that is broken. This is an emergency situation, and the healthcare provider (HCP) should be notified immediately. Administering analgesics would not improve circulation. The skin traction should not be released or removed without an HCP’s prescription. Applying ice to an extremity with absent perfusion is incorrect. Ice may be prescribed when perfusion is adequate to decrease swelling.

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