Open Access Open Badges Research article

Clinical evaluation of an air-capsule technique for the direct measurement of intra-abdominal pressure after elective abdominal surgery

Jens Otto1*, Daniel Kaemmer1, Andreas Biermann3, Marc Jansen1, Rolf Dembinski2, Volker Schumpelick1 and Alexander Schachtrupp1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany

2 Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Germany

3 Department of Anesthesiology, Karolinen Hospital Arnsberg, Germany

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BMC Surgery 2008, 8:18  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-18

Published: 17 October 2008



The gold standard for assessment of intraabdominal pressure (IAP) is via intravesicular pressure measurement (IVP). This accepted technique has some inherent problems, e.g. indirectness. Aim of this clinical study was to assess direct IAP measurement using an air-capsule method (ACM) regarding complications risks and agreement with IVP in patients undergoing abdominal surgery.


A prospective cohort study was performed in 30 patients undergoing elective colonic, hepatic, pancreatic and esophageal resection. For ACM a Probe 3 (Spiegelberg®, Germany) was placed on the greater omentum. It was passed through the abdominal wall paralleling routine drainages. To compare ACM with IVP t-testing was performed and mean difference as well as limits of agreement were calculated.


ACM did not lead to complications particularly with regard to organ lesion or surgical site infection. Mean insertion time of ACM was 4.4 days (min-max: 1–5 days). 168 pairwise measurements were made. Mean ACM value was 7.9 ± 2.7 mmHg while mean IVP was 8.4 ± 3.0 mmHg (n.s). Mean difference was 0.4 mmHg ± 2.2 mmHg. Limits of agreement were -4.1 mmHg to 5.1 mmHg.


Using ACM, direct IAP measurement is feasible and uncomplicated. Associated with relatively low pressure ranges (<17 mmHg), results are comparable to bladder pressure measurement.