The intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) measurement is a key to diagnosing and managing critically ill medical and surgical patients. There are an increasing number of techniques that allow us to measure the IAP at the bedside. This paper reviews these techniques. IAP should be measured at end-expiration, with the patient in the supine position and ensuring that there is no abdominal muscle activity. The intravesicular IAP measurement is convenient and considered the gold standard. The level where the mid-axillary line crosses the iliac crest is the recommended zero reference for the transvesicular IAP measurement; moreover, marking this level on the patient increases reproducibility. Protocols for IAP measurement should be developed for each ICU based on the locally available tools and equipment. IAP measurement techniques are safe, reproducible and accurate and do not increase the risk of urinary tract infection. Continuous IAP measurement may offer benefits in specific situations in the future. In conclusion, the IAP measurement is a reliable and essential adjunct to the management of patients at risk of intra-abdominal hypertension.
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