Abdominal compartment syndrome and intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) has been widely studied in surgical and trauma patients, even though the incidence of IAH in medical intensive care unit (MICU) remains high. Studies have shown that the time to decision making regarding diagnosis and management of IAH is twice in MICU compared to the corresponding surgical side. MICU patients often require large volume resuscitation such as in sepsis, hemorrhage, or an inflammatory condition such as acute pancreatitis, which increases the risk of development of IAH. It is often underdiagnosed and undertreated in MICU due to a lack of awareness of the consequences and mortality associated with it. Elevated intra-abdominal pressure has systemic effects causing atelectatic lungs, decreased cardiac output, and renal insufficiency. IAH, if not recognized early, can quickly progress to compartment syndrome causing multiorgan failure and death. Approach to ACS management between medical and surgical intensivists varies largely because of lack of experience with surgical decompression. This article provides an overview of definitions, incidence, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of IAH and abdominal compartment syndrome in critically in medical patients.
Part of the book: A Comprehensive Review of Compartment Syndrome