Background and methods: Major trauma or abdominal injury may lead to the development of increased intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and the onset of the abdominal compartment syndrome. Although the effect of raised IAP on systemic and splanchnic hemodynamics have been described, the consequences of the resultant gut hypoperfusion in this setting are unknown. Bacterial translocation (BT) occurs after a period of splanchnic ischemia and may contribute to later organ failure. A rodent model was used to examine the effect of raised IAP on ileal mucosal blood flow (MBF) and BT. IAP was increased to 25 mm Hg for 60 minutes and mean arterial blood pressure was maintained with fluid. Animals were killed 24 hours later and examined for BT.
Results: Increased IAP resulted in a decrease of MBF to 63% of baseline despite maintaining normal mean arterial blood pressure. BT occurred principally to the mesenteric lymph nodes after 60 minutes of IAP at 25 mm Hg.
Conclusions: Increased IAP leads to decreased MBF and to BT, which may contribute to later septic complications and organ failure.