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Malbrain ML, De laet I, Van Regenmortel N et al. Crit Care Med 2009;37:316–9.

The relationship between intra-abdominal pressure and abdominal perimeter is weak and does not permit the use of abdominal perimeter measurements as a surrogate for detecting abdominal compartment syndrome.


Abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome are observed in critically ill patients, especially after high risk abdominal surgery. Measurement of intra-abdominal pressure is considered crucial for diagnosis but may sometimes be difficult – it requires that the patient does not present significant activity of abdominal muscles, and involves the use of expensive devices, and specific manipulations of the bladder catheter, which can be cumbersome. Accordingly, one may wish to measure abdominal perimeter in place of intra-abdominal pressure.

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