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A Novel Abdominal Decompression Technique to Treat Compartment Syndrome After Burn Injury.

BACKGROUND: Prevalence of abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) is estimated to be 4%-17% in severely burned patients. Although decompressive laparotomy can be lifesaving for ACS patients, severe complications are associated with this technique, especially in burn populations. This study outlines a new technique of releasing intraabdominal pressure without resorting to decompressive laparotomy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten fresh tissue cadavers were studied; none of whom had had prior abdominal surgery. Using Veress needles, abdomens were insufflated to 30 mm Hg and subsequently connected to arterial pressure transducers. Two techniques were then used to incise fascia. First, large skin flaps were raised from a midline incision (n = 5). Second, small 2 cm cutdowns at the proximal and distal extent of midaxillary, subcostal, and inguinal incisional sites were made, followed by tunneling a subfascial plane using an aortic clamp with fascial incisions made through the grooves of a tunneled vein stripper (n = 5). Pressures were recorded in the sequence of incisions mentioned previously.

RESULTS: The open midline flap technique decreased abdominal pressure from a mean pressure of 30 ± 1.8 mm Hg to 6.9 ± 5.0 mm Hg (P < 0.01). The minimally invasive technique decreased intraabdominal pressure from 30 ± 0.9 to 5.8 ± 5.2 mm Hg (P < 0.01). This technique significantly reduced intraabdominal pressure via extraperitoneal component separation and fascial release at the midaxillary, subxiphoid, and inguinal regions.

CONCLUSIONS: This technique offers the benefit of reducing the morbidity, mortality, and complications associated with an open abdomen, which may be beneficial in the burn injury population.

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