Measurement of bladder pressure via an indwelling urinary bladder catheter is a simple and effective way to indirectly measure intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). Currently this approach is considered the reference standard for the measurement of IAP. Serial monitoring of bladder pressures is useful in detecting the onset of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and the progression to the more severe condition abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS).1,3 

IAH is defined as an elevation of IAP to greater than 12 mm Hg or a measured abdominal perfusion pressure (APP) of less than 60 mm Hg. APP is derived as the difference between mean arterial pressure (MAP) and IAP (APP = MAP-IAP). ACS is defined as IAH and the presence of associated organ system dysfunction.

IAH and ACS were originally described in trauma patients with abdominal injury; however, these conditions may occur in both surgical and medical populations.4,5 IAH and...

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