Intra-abdominal Hypertension and Abdominal Compartment Syndrome in Burn Patients

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Abstract

Background

Intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) are known to occur in patients after major abdominal surgery. The incidence of IAH and ACS in the burn population is not known.

Methods

We prospectively recorded the intra-abdominal pressures of major burn patients admitted to our burn center from February 1999 to September 1999. A bladder pressure greater than 25 mm Hg was diagnosed as IAH. ACS was diagnosed when pulmonary compliance decreased in association with persistent IAH and was treated with abdominal decompression.

Results

Ten patients were placed on the protocol; of these, seven developed IAH. Five responded to conservative treatment. Two patients with 80% body surface area burns developed ACS and required decompression.

Conclusions

IAH occurs commonly in major burn patients, and ACS is seen regularly in patients with more than 70% body surface area burns. We recommend bladder pressure measurements after infusion of more than 0.25 L/kg during the acute resuscitation phase and for peak inspiratory pressures greater than 40 cm H2O. Whereas ACS warrants surgical decompression of the abdominal cavity, IAH usually responds to conservative therapy.

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