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Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2001 Feb;386(1):53-61.

Intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Hong Kong Medical Centre, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China.



The effects of increased intra-abdominal pressure in various organ systems have been noted over the past century. The concept of abdominal compartment syndrome has gained more attention in both trauma and general surgery in the last decade. This article reviews the current understanding and management of intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome.


Relevant information was gathered from a Medline search of the English literature, previous review and original articles, references cited in papers, and by checking the latest issues of appropriate journals.


Akin to compartment syndrome in extremities, the pathophysiological effects of increased intra-abdominal pressure developed well before any clinical evidence of compartment syndrome. These effects include cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and intracranial derangement, reduction of intestinal and hepatic blood flow, and reduction of abdominal wall compliance. Although abdominal compartment syndrome is more commonly noted in patients with abdominal trauma, it is now evident that non-trauma surgical patients could also develop the condition. Early initiation of treatment for intra-abdominal hypertension is currently advocated in view of the possibility of subclinical progress to the full-blown abdominal compartment syndrome.

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