Case of the Month #22 - intra-abdominal hypertension

Published 01/02/2022

What condition is important to consider?

Intra-abdominal Hypertension & Abdominal Compartment Syndrome

Pressure within the abdomen in critically ill patients is normally 5-7 mmHg1 with the abdomen being considered a ‘closed box’ with walls which are both rigid (costal arch, spine, pelvis) and flexible (abdominal wall and diaphragm)2. Intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) occurs when abdominal pressures > 12 mmHg are sustained or are recurrent3. If pressure continues to rise, abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) may occur, which is defined as abdominal pressures > 20 mmHg with evidence of end organ dysfunction/ failure2,3.