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Critical Care Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 982507, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Intra-Abdominal Hypertension and Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Mechanically Ventilated Patients

1Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Clinic, University of Tartu, Puusepa 8, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
2Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Clinic, Tartu University Hospital, Puusepa 1A, 51014 Tartu, Estonia

Received 22 November 2010; Revised 27 January 2011; Accepted 31 January 2011

Academic Editor: R. R. Ivatury

Copyright © 2011 Annika Reintam Blaser et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. We aimed to describe the incidence of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and related outcome in mechanically ventilated (MV) patients. Methods. Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and gastric residual volumes were measured at least twice daily. IAH was defined as a mean daily value of  mmHg. Results. 398 patients were monitored for all together 2987 days. GI symptom(s) occurred in patients. 152 ( ) patients developed IAH. Majority ( ) of patients with IAH had GI symptoms. The more severe IAH was associated with the higher number of concomitant GI symptoms ( ). 142 ( ) patients developed both IAH and at least one GI symptom at any time in ICU, and in 77 patients they occurred simultaneously on the same day. This subgroup had the highest ICU mortality ( ). In contrast, the small group of patients presenting only IAH, but not GI symptoms (10 patients), had no lethal outcome. Three patients ( ) died without showing either IAH or GI symptoms. Conclusions. GI symptoms and IAH often, but not always, occur together. The patients having IAH solely without developing GI symptoms have rather good outcome.