A new concept: The polycompartment syndrome - Part 1

Manu L.N.G. Malbrain, Inneke De Laet

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific review

10 Citations (Scopus)


First suggested in 2007, the polycompartment syndrome is a constellation of the physiological sequelae of increased compartment pressures, whether intracranial pressure (ICP), intra-thoracic pressure (ITP) or intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). Recent observations suggest that an increasing frequency of this complication in all types of patients and increased compartment pressures (CP) are independently associated. with morbidity and mortality. Even chronic elevations of CP seem to affect the various organ systems in the body. In spite of this, the syndrome is still in its infant stage and remains poorly recognised and thus poorly treated in some cases. The diagnosis relies largely on CP measurement. Within the polycompartment syndrome, the abdomen plays a central role and the effect of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) on different organ systems has been described, along with recommendations to compensate for these effects. The ultimate goal of treatment is not only to decrease CP, but also to improve organ function and decrease mortality. In the first of two articles, the head, chest and limb or extremity compartment syndromes are discussed. The second article discusses the abdominal compartment, including the liver and renal compartment syndromes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-97
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Intensive Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008


  • polycompartment syndrome


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