Abdominal compartment syndrome

Background

  • Organ dysfunction caused by intrabdominal hypertension
  • Increased intrabdominal pressure resulting in decreased organ perfusion, impaired hemodynamics

Pathophysiology

  • Abdominal perfusion pressure = MAP - intrabdominal pressure
  • Build up of fluid or blood within the peritoneum or retroperitoneum
    • And/or decrease in abdominal wall compliance
  • Increased pressure within cavity of fixed volume → hypoperfusion of abdominal organs
    • Also causes restriction of diaphragmatic excursion and impaired central venous return

Causes

Clinical Features

  • Most patients are critically ill and unable to communicate
  • Decreased central venous return
    • Increased JVP
    • Increased ICP
    • Decreased cardiac preload
    • Increased cardiac afterload
  • Increased intrathoracic pressure
    • Decreased lung compliance (will cause high peak pressures in vented patients)
    • Decreased functional residual capacity
    • Worsened V/Q mismatch
  • Oliguria, renal failure
  • Bowel ischemia

Differential Diagnosis

Abdominal Trauma

Evaluation

Abdominal compartment syndrome caused by bulimia post vomiting. CT shows dilated stomach with food and air pressed other visceral organs and major abdominal vessels.
A case of abdominal compartment syndrome derived from simple elongated sigmoid colon in an elderly man.. Abdominal CT scan of the patient pre-decompression (a) and post-decompression (b). The arrow shows the inferior vena cava, which was collapsed pre-decompression.

Physical exam is neither sensitive nor specific

  • Obtain bladder pressure
    • Normal < 12 mmHg
    • Intra-abdominal hypertension 12 - 20 mmHg
    • Abdominal compartment syndrome > 20 mmHg PLUS end-organ damage

Management

Nonoperative

Often first line approach when no abdominal injury present[1]

Operative

Definitive treatment

  • Laparotomy provides decompression
    • High complication rate
    • No guidelines for timing of closure

Disposition

  • Admit

See Also

References

  1. Hunt, L., Frost, S. A., Hillman, K., Newton, P. J. and Davidson, P. M. (2014) ‘Management of intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome: a review’, Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes, 8(1).