A survey of critical care nurses’ knowledge of intra-abdominal hypertension and absdominal compartment syndrome

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Journal Article
Australian Critical Care, 2017, 30 (1), pp. 21 - 27
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Background Intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome are potentially life threatening conditions. Critical care nurses need to understand the factors that predispose patients to intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS). Predicting and managing IAH and ACS are important to improve health outcomes. Aim The aim of this paper was to (1) assess the knowledge of Australian critical care nurses about current IAH and ACS practice guidelines, measurement techniques, predictors for the development of IAH and ACS and (2) identify barriers in recognizing IAH, ACS and measuring IAP. Methods Between October 2014 and April 2015 86 registered nurses employed in the area of critical care were recruited via the form to participate in an on-line, 19-item questionnaire. The survey was distributed to critical care nurses via the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN) mailing list and directly to intensive care units via The majority of participants were women (n = 62) all participants were registered nurses employed in critical care the response rate was 3.2%. The study design was used to establish demographic data, employment data, and individuals’ knowledge related to IAH and ACS. Participants had the option to write hand written responses in addition to selecting a closed question response. Results The results showed that most survey participants were able to identify some obvious causes of IAH. However, less than 20% were able to recognize less apparent indices of risk. A lack of education related to IAP monitoring was identified by nearly half (44.2%) of respondents as the primary barrier to monitoring IAP.
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