Abdominal Compartment Syndrome in Adult Trauma Patients


      • Abdominal compartment syndrome is often easily overlooked while an adult trauma patient is being stabilized.
      • Frequent monitoring of intra-abdominal pressure to avoid intra-abdominal hypertension holds enormous significance in the management of abdominal compartment syndrome.
      • Depending on the severity and the time of the symptoms recognized by the provider, the patient’s mortality rate is determined.
      • Some cases of abdominal compartment syndrome may be managed conservatively, whereas others require immediate aggressive treatment as determined by collateral organ dysfunction.
      • Recognizing early signs and symptoms can ultimately help the patient with abdominal compartment syndrome evade the life-threatening decompressive laparotomy.


      Abdominal compartment syndrome is often easily overlooked while an adult trauma patient is being stabilized. It demands meticulous physical examination by the provider. The patient’s mortality rate is determined by the severity and time of the symptoms recognized by the provider. Intra-abdominal hypertension (measured by intra-abdominal pressure) and abdominal compartment syndrome are established causes of death among critically ill patients. Therefore, recognizing early signs and symptoms in an adult trauma patient can aid the provider in deciding the appropriate course of treatment, ultimately evading the life-threatening decompressive laparotomy.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic and Personal


      Subscribe to The Journal for Nurse Practitioners
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Rajasurya V.
        • Surani S.
        Abdominal compartment syndrome: often overlooked conditions in medical intensive care units.
        World J Gastroenterol. 2020; 26: 266-278https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v26.i3.266
        • Padar M.
        • Reintam Blaser A.
        • Talving P.
        • Lipping E.
        • Starkopf J.
        Abdominal compartment syndrome: improving outcomes with a multidisciplinary approach-a narrative review.
        J Multidiscip Healthc. 2019; 12: 1061-1074https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S205608
      1. Newman RK, Dayal N, Dominique E. Abdominal Compartment Syndrome. StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; July 10, 2020.

        • Shaheen A.W.
        • Crandall M.L.
        • Nicolson N.G.
        • et al.
        Abdominal compartment syndrome in trauma patients: new insights for predicting outcomes.
        J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2016; 9: 53-57https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-2700.179452
        • Bouveresse S.
        • Piton G.
        • Badet N.
        • Besch G.
        • Pili-Floury S.
        • Delabrousse E.
        Abdominal compartment syndrome and intra-abdominal hypertension in critically ill patients: diagnostic value of computed tomography.
        Eur Radiol. 2019; 29: 3839-3846https://doi.org/10.1007/s00330-018-5994-x
        • Papavramidis T.S.
        • Marinis A.D.
        • Pliakos I.
        • Kesisoglou I.
        • Papavramidou N.
        Abdominal compartment syndrome-Intra-abdominal hypertension: defining, diagnosing, and managing.
        J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2011; 4: 279-291https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-2700.82224
        • Ertel W.
        • Trentz O.
        Das abdominelle Kompartmentsyndrom [The abdominal compartment syndrome].
        Unfallchirurg. 2001; 104: 560-568https://doi.org/10.1007/s001130170086
        • De Laet I.E.
        • Malbrain M.L.N.G.
        • De Waele J.J.
        A clinician’s guide to management of intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome in critically ill patients.
        Crit Care. 2020; 24: 97https://doi.org/10.1186/s13054-020-2782-1
        • Damme L.V.
        • Waele J.J.D.
        Effect of decompressive laparotomy on organ function in patients with abdominal compartment syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Critical Care. 2018; 22: 179https://doi.org/10.1186/s13054-018-2103-0


      All authors are at California State University, Los Angeles. Lillian Ghosh, MSN, RN, is a graduate of the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, and can be contacted at [email protected] . Raymund Gantioque, DNP, ACNP-BC is an assistant professor and coordinator, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program. Cinthya Sotelo, DNP, FNP-C, ENP-C is an associate professor and director, Nurse Practitioner Programs and coordinator, Family Nurse Practitioner Program.