Different techniques to measure intra-abdominal pressure (IAP): time for a critical re-appraisal

Intensive Care Med. 2004 Mar;30(3):357-71. doi: 10.1007/s00134-003-2107-2. Epub 2004 Jan 17.


The diagnosis of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) or abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) is heavily dependent on the reproducibility of the intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) measurement technique. Recent studies have shown that a clinical estimation of IAP by abdominal girth or by examiner's feel of the tenseness of the abdomen is far from accurate, with a sensitivity of around 40%. Consequently, the IAP needs to be measured with a more accurate, reproducible and reliable tool. The role of the intra-vesical pressure (IVP) as the gold standard for IAP has become a matter of debate. This review will focus on the previously described indirect IAP measurement techniques and will suggest new revised methods of IVP measurement less prone to error. Cost-effective manometry screening techniques will be discussed, as well as some options for the future with microchip transducers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen*
  • Compartment Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Compartment Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures / economics
  • Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Pressure
  • Reproducibility of Results