Author(s): Carry PY, Banssillon V
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Abstract The abdominal pressure is a hydrostatic one, which can be measured in the bladder, the rectum and the stomach. In physiologic conditions, the abdominal pressure is variable, with peaks as high as 100 to 200 mmHg at the time of defecation, cough. The increase in abdominal pressure elicited by abdominal distension or compression acts directly on the abdominal compartment, indirectly on the thoracic compartment, and modifies the circulation and the ventilation. Venous return is decreased as the inferior vena cava is compressed. The systemic resistances are also increased as the abdominal vessels are compressed. Therefore the circulation is mainly distributed to the superior part of the body. Although the cardiac output is decreased, the usual haemodynamic parameters remain in the normal range: arterial pressure is increased, heart rate is unchanged, central venous pressure is increased, cardiac failure is unusual. The abdominal distension is also responsible for a restrictive respiratory syndrome, mainly due to the ascension of the diaphragm. The compression of the abdominal content explains renal effects and the decreased diuresis. A sustained increase in abdominal pressure occurs in several clinical conditions. During coelioscopy, abdominal pressure is a under control and the cardiovascular effects are minor. Insufflation with CO2 carries the risk of hypercapnia, gas embolism and pneumothorax. During abdominal tamponade, anuria is directly related to the level of pressures. At an abdominal pressure over 25 mmHg, anuria is common and decompression becomes essential. The G suit increases arterial pressure either by elevating vascular resistances or increasing blood content in the upper part of the body. Therefore cardiac tolerance can be decreased especially in cardiac patients. The adverse effects of abdominal pressure can also be observed in case of peritoneal dialysis and ascites. The risk of regurgitation associated with an increased abdominal pressure must also be kept in mind. The abdominal pressure plays an important role in anaesthesia as well as in surgery. Therefore its measurement, which is easy, should become a routine.
This article was published in Ann Fr Anesth Reanim
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