11 Jan 06

Intra-abdominal hypertension in patients with severe acute pancreatitis

Posted in Critical Care, Pancreatitis at 15:05 by Laci

Jan J De Waele , Eric Hoste1, Stijn I Blot, Johan Decruyenaere and Francis Colardyn


Abdominal compartment syndrome has been described in patients with severe acute pancreatitis, but its clinical impact remains unclear. We therefore studied patient factors associated with the development of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH), the incidence of organ failure associated with IAH, and the effect on outcome in patients with severe acute pancreatitis (SAP).

We studied all patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) because of SAP in a 4 year period. The incidence of IAH (defined as intra-abdominal pressure = 15 mmHg) was recorded. The occurrence of organ dysfunction during ICU stay was recorded, as was the length of stay in the ICU and outcome.

The analysis included 44 patients, and IAP measurements were obtained from 27 patients. IAH was found in 21 patients (78%). The maximum IAP in these patients averaged 27 mmHg. APACHE II and Ranson scores on admission were higher in patients who developed IAH. The incidence of organ dysfunction was high in patients with IAH: respiratory failure 95%, cardiovascular failure 91%, and renal failure 86%. Mortality in the patients with IAH was not significantly higher compared to patients without IAH (38% versus 16%, p = 0.63), but patients with IAH stayed significantly longer in the ICU and in the hospital. Four patients underwent abdominal decompression because of abdominal compartment syndrome, three of whom died in the early postoperative course.

IAH is a frequent finding in patients admitted to the ICU because of SAP, and is associated with a high occurrence rate of organ dysfunction. Mortality is high in patients with IAH, and because the direct causal relationship between IAH and organ dysfunction is not proven in patients with SAP, surgical decompression should not routinely be performed.

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