Fluid therapy and perfusional considerations during resuscitation in critically ill patients with intra-abdominal hypertension

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Adrian Regli, Bart De Keulenaer, Inneke De laet, Derek J. Roberts, Wojciech DÄ…browski, Manu L.N.G. Malbrain


Intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) are consistently associated with morbidity and mortality among the critically ill or injured. Thus, avoiding or potentially treating these conditions may improve patient outcomes. With the aim of improving the outcomes for patients with IAH/ACS, the World Society of the Abdominal Compartment Syndrome recently updated its clinical practice guidelines. In this article, we review the association between a positive fluid balance and outcomes among patients with IAH/ACS and how optimisation of fluid administration and systemic/regional perfusion may potentially lead to improved outcomes among this patient population. Evidence consistently associates secondary IAH with a positive fluid balance. However, despite increased research in the area of non-surgical management of patients with IAH and ACS, evidence supporting this approach is limited. Some evidence exists to support implementing goal-directed resuscitation protocols and restrictive fluid therapy protocols in shocked and recovering critically ill patients with IAH. Data from animal experiments and clinical trials has shown that the early use of vasopressors and inotropic agents is likely to be safe and may help reduce excessive fluid administration, especially in patients with IAH. Studies using furosemide and/or renal replacement therapy to achieve a negative fluid balance in patients with IAH are encouraging. The type of fluid to be administered in patients with IAH remains far from resolved. There is currently insufficient evidence to recommend the use of abdominal perfusion pressure as a resuscitation endpoint in patients with IAH. However, it is important to recognise that IAH either abolishes or increases threshold values for pulse pressure variation and stroke volume variation to predict fluid responsiveness, while the presence of IAH may also result in a false negative passive leg raising test.

Correct fluid therapy and perfusional support during resuscitation form the cornerstone of medical management in patients with abdominal hypertension. Controlled studies determining whether the above medical interventions may improve outcomes among those with IAH/ACS are urgently required.

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