Welcome to the WSACS – the Abdominal Compartment Society.
Times are changing and so is our society! As the incidence of Abdominal Compartment Syndrome is dropping, and the challenges in these patients are changing, the Executive Committee decided to update the name of the “World Society of the Abdominal Compartment Syndrome” to “WSACS – the Abdominal Compartment Society”. Expanding the focus of the Society to the different challenges in critically ill patients with abdominal catastrophes will allow us to continue our mission in the next decade and improve outcome in these patients.
The World Society of the Abdominal Compartment Syndrome (WSACS) has been very productive through scientific collaborations of like-minded researchers, clinicians, and paramedical personnel since 2004.
The mission of the WSACS has been to promote research, foster education, and improve the survival of patients with intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and/or abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS). The adoption of the management principles espoused by the WSACS appeared to be highly correlated with significant improved survival and cost efficiency . Such success has led some to suggest that the attenuation of overt ACS to less obvious IAH could be considered a success of the preceding decade in trauma care . If the “raison d’être” of the Society is now diminishing as a clinical concern then, should the Society continue its efforts or retire to comfortably enjoy the accolades of an appreciative global medical community?
With that preamble, it should be clearly and boldly stated that the executive of the WSACS does not consider their work done, and in the interest of better patient care globally, we believe our mission is as pertinent, urgent, and relevant as it was in 2004. While ACS is more understood, innumerable questions remain concerning IAH, which remains a nearly ubiquitous factor complicating almost any critical illness or injury to some degree. While even modest levels of IAH have been documented to significantly influence organ function [3-5], the same degree of IAH goes unappreciated and unrecognized nearly every day in our ICUs. The reality in 2014 remains that surveys from all over the world still reflect misconceptions, misunderstanding, and ambivalence concerning the active surveillance and treatment of IAH [6-8]. Thus we believe it is critical that some international society dedicates its efforts to attempting to understand the role of IAH in critical illness/injury.
The increasing importance of IAH as the primary physiologic problem to be considered comes at the same time as major advances are being made in beginning to understand the epidemiology, anatomy, function and pathophysiology of the abdomen as a complete whole. Considering the abdominal compliance as both a concept and a management principle may advance the understanding of clinical patient variability considering individual responses to IAH [9, 10]. Recently the magnitude of the burden of disease of abdominal wall failure has been appreciated in both its scope and challenge. The open abdomen (OA) is a dramatic entity fraught with complications that is bewildering to families and new medical trainees alike. However, the use of the OA technique has resulted in improved survivals in critically ill or injured patients  and is now part of every surgeon’s armamentarium.
Another potentially seminal advance has been in the realm of surgical technique derived from increased attention to abdominal wall anatomy, such as the various tissue component separation techniques that have evolved since Ramirez and colleagues described them [13, 14]. These technical advances now coupled with advances in tissue recovery and engineering have resulted in the commercial availability of an array of bioprosthethic meshes that may be complementary to component separation techniques in rebuilding complex abdominal wall defects [15, 16]. Despite the great promise however, many questions remain and much study needs to be done [17, 18].
As the focus concerning ACS becomes less paramount, as it becomes rarer [2, 19], it became even more apparent to the WSACS Executive Committee that the actual name of the Society was limiting in terms of reflecting the true breadth and depth of the Society’s mission. From the Society’s inception, attention has been paid to the anatomy and clinical management of all stages of IAH/ACS Management, including abdominal reconstruction and long-term outcomes of IAH/ACS survivors. While naming the Society after the ACS emphasized the most dramatic condition to be addressed, it does not reflect upon the full scope of the Society’s interests and activities.
Thus, in order to reflect the evolving science and to embrace important concepts related to abdominal wall anatomy and function, the World Society of the Abdominal Compartment Syndrome, is officially changing its name to the WSACS – the Abdominal Compartment Society. While there are already other professional associations that consider certain aspects of either the anatomy or pathophysiology of the abdominal cavity our Society is uniquely dedicated to formally appreciating the abdominal compartment as a whole within all the body’s inter-related compartments .
The Executive of the WSACS – the Abdominal Compartment Society
Formerly known as the Executive of the World Society of the Abdominal Compartment Syndrome