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Intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) are highly morbid conditions that are common and underrecognized in the intensive care unit. Intra-abdominal hypertension affects the critically ill patient population and is not solely limited to the trauma and surgical subgroups. The recognition of IAH and ACS as distinct clinical states has become more apparent. Extensive bench and clinical research has shed significant light into the definition, incidence, etiology, physiology, clinical manifestations, and treatment strategies. Although further research into this morbid condition is needed, improvement in recognition is a critical first step. This review aims to scrutinize the basic science and clinical literature available on this condition in a surgically focused, organ-system-based approach.