The sequelae of raised intra-abdominal pressure are well documented, but the deleterious multisystem effects of the abdominal compartment syndrome have been recognized only recently. In health, the intra-abdominal pressure is 0–5 mmHg. Intra-abdominal pressure may be raised in a variety of conditions.
Abdominal compartment syndrome may be defined as the complex of adverse physiological consequences that occur as a result of an acute rise in intra-abdominal pressure (usually >20 mmHg). Early recognition of abdominal compartment syndrome is vital to prevent or reverse the multisystem effects.