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Abdominal compartment syndrome: an often overlooked cause of acute kidney injury


Abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) is defined as any organ dysfunction caused by intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH), referred as intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) ≥ 12 mm Hg according to the World Society of Abdominal Compartment Syndrome. Abdominal compartment syndrome develops in most cases when IAP rises above 20 mmHg. Abdominal compartment syndrome, while being a treatable and even preventable condition if detected early in the stage of intra-abdominal hypertension, is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality if diagnosis is delayed: therefore, early detection is essential. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common comorbidity, affecting approximately one in every five hospitalized patients, with a higher incidence in surgical patients. AKI in response to intra-abdominal hypertension develops as a result of a decline in cardiac output and compression of the renal vasculature and renal parenchyma. In spite of the high incidence of intra-abdominal hypertension, especially in surgical patients, its potential role in the pathophysiology of AKI has been investigated in very few clinical studies and is commonly overlooked in clinical practice despite being potentially treatable and reversible. Aim of the present review is to illustrate the current evidence on the pathophysiology, diagnosis and therapy of intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome in the context of AKI.

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