Abdominal Compartment Syndrome in Severe Acute Pancreatitis: An Indication for a Decompressing Laparotomy?

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Background:The currently prevailing paradigm calls for non-operative management of severe acute pancreatitis for as long as there is no evidence of infection. Our purpose in presenting this anecdotal experience is to propose that there is a subset of patients who may need a laparotomy in the absence of infection in order to decompress a clinically significant abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS), which is associated with the acute pancreatitis.Methods:We present our recent experience with three patients suffering from severe acute pancreatitis. The three developed intra-abdominal hypertension (IAHT) and clinical ACS, which necessitated abdominal decompression and a laparostomy. One patient survived.Conclusions:The notion that patients with severe acute pancreatitis may develop ACS, which necessitate emergency abdominal decompression, has been ignored by current surgical literature. Only increased awareness to the syndrome of IAHT-ACS in acute pancreatitis and transvesical measurement of intra-abdominal pressure will reveal its prevalence and significance.

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