Abdominal compartment syndrome: survey on the awareness of Portuguese general surgeons.

Sílvia Costa, Aline Gomes, Susana Graça, António Ferreira, Gonçalo Fernandes, Joana Esteves, Alexandre Costa, Paula Fernandes, Paula Castelões, Jorge Maciel


The Abdominal Compartment Syndrome (ACS) is a clinical entity recognized for over a century, but only recently its risk criteria, monitorization and treatment have been defined by the World Society of the Abdominal Compartment Syndrome (WSACS). The general surgeon's involvement is vital since this syndrome is common in surgical patients and because its treatment may culminate in a laparostomy. 250 questionnaires of 17 questions were distributed among general surgeons attending the XXVIII Portuguese Congress of Surgery. The data were analyzed using SPSS® v16. We received 36,4% (91) of the delivered questionnaires, most of which from male surgeons (63,7%), from central hospitals (75,8%), working 42 h per week (70.3%), whose average of age was 38 years. About half of the respondents received training in Intensive Care Units. All surgeons had already heard about measuring the Intra- abdominal Pressure (IAP), which was being performed at 89% of their hospitals. About 40% of surgeons only admitted intra-abdominal hypertension above 20 mmHg (only 22% indicated the correct value of 12 mmHg). 36,3% of surgeons suggested that a decompressive laparostomy must be carried out for primary ACS if IAP greater then 20 mmHg with new organ failure; 36.3% favoured the "Vacuum-pack"-like system, and 56% only re-operate the patients "as needed". 48,4% of surgeons had already performed decompressive laparostomy, 66% of which had residence training in a ICU (p = 0,005). Respondents also pointed an average mortality related to ACS of 81% without laparostomy, and a reduction to 38,5% after performing that procedure. Only 26% of the surgeons were aware of the WSACS consensus definitions and recommendations, of those, 83% had already performed a laparostomy (P<0,001). It can be concluded that, in spite of recognizing the ACS as a clinical entity, portuguese general surgeons are quite unaware of the WSACS definitions and treatment guidelines, urging the need for its divulgation.

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