Abdominal compartment syndrome is defined as sustained intra-abdominal pressure greater than 20 mm Hg (with or without abdominal perfusion pressure <60 mm Hg) associated with new organ failure or dysfunction. The syndrome is associated with 90% to 100% mortality if not recognized and treated in a timely manner. Nurses are responsible for accurately measuring intra-abdominal pressure in children with abdominal compartment syndrome and for alerting physicians about important changes. This article provides relevant definitions, outlines risk factors for abdominal compartment syndrome developing in children, and discusses an instructive case involving an adolescent with abdominal compartment syndrome. Techniques for measuring intra-abdominal pressure, normal ranges, and the importance of monitoring in the critical care setting for timely identification of intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome also are discussed.

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