Intra-abdominal pressure as a marker of severity in acute pancreatitis

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Acute pancreatitis is one of the main causes of intra-abdominal hypertension, which may lead to multiple physiologic alterations. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between acute pancreatitis and intra-abdominal hypertension, and to evaluate the utility of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) as a marker of severity in acute pancreatitis.


From July 2002 to July 2004, 45 patients admitted for acute pancreatitis were included in this prospective, observational study. The diagnostic criteria for acute pancreatitis were compatible clinical manifestations and a 3-fold increase in serum amylase levels. Severe pancreatitis was defined as Apache II score ≥8. IAP was determined every 12 hours, and the maximum and the mean values were used for analysis and correlated with prognostic factors of acute pancreatitis.


A statistical relationship was observed between maximum IAP and the typical prognostic factors of acute pancreatitis. Maximum IAP had a significant relationship with the computed tomography severity index and the number of complementary tests required. The maximum IAP was significantly greater in patients who died and in patients requiring vasoactive drugs, total parenteral nutrition, or operative treatment related to complications. The maximum IAP was also greater in patients who developed systemic inflammatory response syndrome, multiorgan failure, increase in number and/or volume of intra-abdominal collections, those who required aspiration of the necrosis for suspected infection, those who demonstrated the presence of microorganisms, and those with positive blood cultures.


The maximum IAP is a useful, inexpensive, and easy method to measure prognostic marker of the evolution and complications of acute pancreatitis.

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