Is intra-abdominal hypertension a risk factor for ventilatorassociated pneumonia?

Eleni Papakrivou, Eustratios Manoulakas, Epaminondas Zakynthinos, Demosthenes Makris


In the last years, there has been a significant amount of research about the impact of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) on the outcomes of critical care patients. IAH is increasingly recognized as potential complication in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. IAH affects all body systems, most notably the cardiac, respiratory, renal, and neurologic systems. IAH affects blood flow to various organs and plays a significant role in the prognosis of the patients. Recognition of IAH, its risk factors and clinical signs can reduce the morbidity and mortality associated. Moreover, knowledge of the pathophysiology may help rationalize the therapeutic approach. On the other hand, ICU patients present frequently ventilator- associated respiratory infections. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is the most common healthcare-associated infection (HAI) in adult critical care units. It is associated with increased ICU stay, patient ventilator days and mortality. This paper reviews the relationship between IAH and VAP. Despite animal experimentation and physiological studies on humans, in favor of the impact of IAH to VAP, there is no definitive clinical data that IAH is associated with VAP. Microaspirations form the gastrointestinal track is a pathophysiological mechanism for VAP. This review provides data suggesting that under IAH conditions bacterial translocation might be an additional responsible mechanism for VAP in those patients that merits further investigation in the future.