Last update:


Arch Hellen Med, 19(3), May-June 2002, 252-257


Abdominal compartment syndrome

2nd Department of Surgery, University of Athens, Aretaieion Hospital, Athens, Greece

The so called abdominal compartment syndrome has been recognized in recent years, although there were al ready signs and indications for such a condition, identified in the past. The causes of this syndrome are all conditions which increase the intra abdominal pressure acutely by means of edema or distension of the abdominal viscera, or space occupation. These include peritonitis, ileus, pancreatitis, intestinal infarction, trauma, large collections of blood, massive transfusion of fluids, packing for bleeding, transplantation of large organs volume. The increased intra abdominal pressure results in impaired organ function especially in the lungs, kidneys, and in the systemic and splanchnic circulation. The suspicion of the problem arises from the evaluation of the patient in the light of contemporary knowledge of pathophysiology. The diagnosis can be established by measurement of the intra abdominal pressure via a Foley catheter. Without treatment the prognosis of this syndrome is very bad. Prevention is achieved by avoiding closure of the abdomen under tension. The treatment of the syndrome consists of immediate opening of the abdomen in every case of abdominal hypertension and leaving the abdomen “open”. The techniques are the same as those used in recent years for severe cases of intra abdominal infections.

Key words: Abdominal trauma, Laparoscopy.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine