Objective: To determine whether prevention of the abdominal compartment syndrome after celiotomy for trauma justifies the use of absorbable mesh prosthesis closure in severely injured patients.
Design: Retrospective analysis of case series from July 1, 1989, to July 31, 1996.
Setting: University-based level I trauma center.
Patients: Seventy-three consecutive trauma patients requiring celiotomy who received absorbable mesh prosthesis closure and 73 control patients matched for injury severity and trauma type who received celiotomy without a mesh prosthesis closure.
Interventions: Absorbable mesh prosthesis closure was used in cases of excessive fascial tension, abdominal compartment syndrome, necrotizing fasciitis, traumatic defect, or planned reoperation.
Main outcome measures: Demographics, Injury Severity Score, Abdominal Trauma Index, highest abdominal Abbreviated Injury Scale score, number of abdominal/pelvic injuries, highest head Abbreviated Injury Scale score, shock, indication for mesh closure, complications, number of operations and time required for closure, days in the intensive care unit, length of stay, and mortality were determined. The highest abdominal Abbreviated Injury Scale score was multiplied by the number of abdominal/pelvic injuries to calculate the abdominal pelvic trauma score.
Results: Group 1 consisted of 47 patients who received mesh at initial celiotomy, and group 2, 26 patients who received mesh at a subsequent celiotomy. These 2 groups were statistically similar in demographics, injury severity, and mortality. However, group 2 had a significantly higher incidence of postoperative abdominal compartment syndrome (35% vs 0%), necrotizing fasciitis (39% vs 0%), intra-abdominal abscess/peritonitis (35% vs 4%), and enterocutaneous fistula (23% vs 11%) compared with group 1 (P < .001). Group 1 patients with preoperative abdominal compartment syndrome had more abdominal/ pelvic injuries and higher abdominal trauma index than matched controls (P < .05). There was a trend toward higher abdominal pelvic trauma score in patients who developed abdominal compartment syndrome. The Pearson coefficient of correlation between the abdominal trauma index and the more easily calculated abdominal pelvic trauma score was 0.91 (P < .001).
Conclusion: The use of absorbable mesh prosthesis closure in severely injured patients undergoing celiotomy was effective in treating and preventing the abdominal compartment syndrome.