Background: The aim was to investigate the association between colonic ischaemia and intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) after surgery for ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (rAAA).
Methods: Sigmoid colon perfusion was monitored with an intramucosal pH (pHi) tonometer. Patients with a pHi of 7.1 or less were treated for suspected hypovolaemia with intravenous colloids and colonoscopy. IAP was measured every 4 h. Patients with an IAP of 20 mmHg or more had neuromuscular blockade, relaparotomy or both.
Results: A total of 52 consecutive patients had open rAAA repair; 30-day mortality was 27 per cent. Eight patients died shortly after surgery. Fifteen were not monitored for practical reasons; mortality in this group was 33 per cent. IAP and pHi were measured throughout the stay in intensive care in the remaining 29 patients. Monitoring led to volume resuscitation in 25 patients, neuromuscular blockade in 16, colonoscopy in 19 and relaparotomy in two. One patient died in this group. Twenty-three of 29 patients had a pHi of 7.1 or less, of whom 15 had a pHi of 6.9 or less. Sixteen had an IAP of 20 mmHg or more, of whom ten also had a pHi below 6.90. Peak IAP values correlated with the simultaneously measured pHi (r = -0.39, P = 0.003).
Conclusion: Raised IAP is an important mechanism behind colonic hypoperfusion after rAAA repair. Monitoring IAP and timely intervention may improve outcome.
(c) 2009 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd.