Simple method to diagnose the abdominal compartment syndrome following trauma
LOS ANGELES, CA (July 5, 2002) --In trauma situations, physicians and surgeons need rapid, dependable information upon which to base life-saving efforts. Because the methods typically used to accurately measure intra-abdominal pressure tend to be cumbersome, physicians and surgeons in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Division of Trauma Surgery and Critical Care routinely employ a quicker, simple and easier method of measuring abdominal pressure.
The subject of a "how-to" article that appeared in the May 2002 journal Contemporary Surgery, the technique is inexpensive, easy to perform and as useful as the alternatives, according to authors Michael Sedrak, M.D., Kevin Major, M.D., and Matthew Wilson, M.D., all of Cedars-Sinai.
Patients who experience serious injuries to the abdominal region are at risk of developing abdominal compartment syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. . The rising fluid compresses internal organs and structures, resulting in increased airway pressure, restriction of blood returning to the heart, and diminished urinary output.
Cedars-Sinai's trauma surgery and critical care specialists insert a Foley catheter into the patient's bladder and apply readily available silk tape to the drainage tubing so that reference points of 1 centimeter increments can be marked. This creates a simple fluid-column manometry device when the bladder is filled with sterile saline and the tubing is elevated from horizontal to vertical.
Intra-abdominal pressure is "estimated by the height of the water column, which easily can be determined hourly," according to the authors. "It is the trend of the abdominal compartment pressure that is observed using this method, and detection of an upward trend in pressure can quickly and efficiently guide timely further intervention."
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is one of the largest nonprofit academic medical centers in the Western United States. For the fifth straight two-year period, Cedars-Sinai has been named Southern California's gold standard in health care in an independent survey. Cedars-Sinai is internationally renowned for its diagnostic and treatment capabilities and its broad spectrum of programs and services, as well as breakthrough biomedical research and superlative medical education. Named one of the 100 "Most Wired" hospitals in health care in 2001, the Medical Center ranks among the top 10 non-university hospitals in the nation for its research activities.