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Linea Alba Fasciotomy: A Novel Alternative in Trauma Patients with Secondary Abdominal Compartment Syndrome

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Polytrauma patients needing aggressive resuscitation can develop intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) with subsequent secondary abdominal compartment syndrome (SACS). After patients fail medical therapy, decompressive laparotomy is the surgical last resort. In patients with severe pancreatitis SACS, the use of linea alba fasciotomy (LAF) is an effective intervention to lower IAH without the morbidity of laparotomy. A pilot study of LAF was designed to evaluate its benefit in patients with SACS polytrauma. We conducted an observational study of blunt injury polytrauma patients undergoing LAF. Variables measured before and after LAF included intra-abdominal pressure (IAP, mmHg), abdominal perfusion pressure (APP, mmHg), right ventricular end diastolic volume index (RVEDVI, mL/m2), and ejection fraction. Of the five trauma patients with SACS, the mean age was 36 ± 17, four (80%) male with an Injury Severity Score of 27 ± 9. Pre- and post-LAF, IAP was 20.6 ± 4.7 and 10.6 ± 2.7 (P < 0.0001), APP 55.2 ± 5.5 and 77.6 ± 7.1 (P < 0.0001), RVEDVI 86.4 ± 9.3 and 123.6 ± 11.9 (P < 0.0001), and EF 27.6 ± 4.2 and 40.8 ± 5 (P < 0.0001), respectively. One patient needed full decompression for bile ascites from unrecognized liver injury. Linea alba fasciotomy, as a first-line intervention before committing to full abdominal decompression in patients with SACS trauma, improved physiological variables without mortality. Consideration for LAF as a bridge before full abdominal decompression needs further evaluation in patients with polytrauma SACS.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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