Compression Avascularization / Re-perfusion Syndrome (CARP)

also known as Harness Hang Syndrome.

The origins of awareness of CARP stem from members of the French Speleological Society suspecting that some caver fatalities previously attributed to exposure might have in fact been caused by something else. The group undertook informal experiments where volunteers hung limply in harnesses. The volunteers very quickly became ill so testing was stopped, in favour of more scientifically rigorous protocols where the subjects’ vital signs could be monitored. The testing showed that hanging immobile in a harness caused problems in as little as ten minutes. The group tested numerous harness designs and various body positions but the results were all similar. Recently, testing done by a German industrial safety group (FISAT) showed similar results from hanging immobile in a full body harness.

CARP Syndrome occurs when a person hangs in a harness and the venous blood in the legs is unable to return to the torso while arterial blood continues to flow downward. The result is identical to hypovolemic shock. Even if the subject is released within ten minutes, there may be additional complications caused by re-perfusion of the legs. Like shock, CARP Syndrome is difficult to treat in the field and must be prevented by rescuing anyone hanging immobile on a rope.

Download Joe Ivy's full article on CARP.


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