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BACKGROUND: Abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) is defined as an increase of intra-abdominal pressure (IAH) to values higher than 20 mmHg, associated with reduced perfusion and organ dysfunction. MATERIALS AND METHODS: There is a classification of open abdomen which stratifies patients according to the natural history of improvement or clinical deterioration. The aim of treatment is to maintain the open abdomen at the lowest level and to prevent progression to a more complex level. DISCUSSION: Surgical treatment essentially consists in abdominal decompression by leaving the abdomen open. Analysis of the literature shows that negative pressure increases the rate of primary fascial closure; entero-cutaneous fistulas are seen in a minority of cases, without seeming consequence of the application of the dressing. Open abdomen management consists of three treatment stages: acute (24-48 hours), intermediate (from 48 hours to 10 days) and late or reconstruction (from 10 days to the final closure). CONCLUSION: It’s important to recognize patients at risk of IAH and the first signs of ACS and intervene early with abdominal decompression if this will establish itself. Management of the open abdomen is now facilitated by negative pressure devices, which positively affect the morbidity and mortality of patients with ACS.