Background: Obesity is associated with chronic increases in intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). The aim of the present study was to examine the correlation between the IAP and the number of obesity-related co-morbidities.
Methods: A total of 63 morbidly obese patients who were undergoing bariatric surgery had their IAP measured intraoperatively while in a supine position and under general anesthesia. The IAP readings were obtained through an indwelling urinary bladder catheter. The correlation of obesity-related co-morbidities, including systemic hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, gastroesophageal reflux disease, urinary stress incontinence, lower extremity edema, obstructive sleep apnea, and abdominal wall hernia, and the level of IAP were examined using a stepwise regression analysis model.
Results: Of the 62 patients, 57 were women. The mean age was 44 + or - 11 years, and the body mass index was 49 + or - 10 kg/m(2). Of the 62 patients, 48 (77%) had an elevated IAP (> or = 9 cm H(2)O). A significant and positive correlation was found between the IAP level and the number of obesity-related co-morbidities (Pearson's r = .8; P <.05). Stepwise logistic regression analysis revealed that systemic hypertension, American Society of Anesthesiologists score, and body mass index were predictors of elevated IAP. A normal IAP appeared to offer a protective effect against systemic hypertension.
Conclusion: In this cohort of mainly obese women, the baseline IAP of morbidly obese patients was abnormally elevated. A greater IAP correlated with the presence of a greater number of obesity-related co-morbid conditions. Systemic hypertension was significantly associated with an elevated IAP. Chronic increases in IAP might, in part, be responsible for the pathogenesis of systemic hypertension in the morbidly obese.