Tourniquet use during extremity surgery is commonplace and a relatively safe practice. The surgical team’s knowledge of the patient history, proper assessment, and indications and contraindications for and risks of tourniquet use can prevent unwanted outcomes. Exploration of these critical areas reinforces perioperative nurses’ awareness and understanding of safe tourniquet use. Additionally, a review of the physiological effect of tourniquets on the skin, the body’s response to local compression, the risk of vascular compromise, and the effect of the tourniquet on postoperative pain and swelling provides insight into AORN recommended practice guidelines. This article summarizes the indications and assessments for and risks of tourniquet use for patients during extremity surgery. An understanding of these topics can improve surgical outcomes and promote safe perioperative care.
Key words: pneumatic tourniquet, extremity surgery, tourniquet time, tourniquet pressure, ischemia.