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Table 1 Classification of AGI [5]

From: Association between acute gastrointestinal injury and biomarkers of intestinal barrier function in critically ill patients

Grade Definition
I (risk of GI dysfunction or failure) Partial impairment of GI function, manifested as gastrointestinal symptoms related to a known cause and perceived to be transient. Examples: postoperative nausea and/or vomiting during the first few days after abdominal surgery, postoperative absence of bowel sounds, diminished bowel motility in the early phase of shock.
II (GI dysfunction) The GI tract is unable to perform digestion and absorption adequately to satisfy the nutrient and fluid requirements of the body. There are no changes in the general condition of the patient due to GI problems. Examples: gastroparesis with high gastric residuals or reflux, paralysis of the lower GI tract, diarrhea, intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) 12–15 mmHg, visible blood in gastric content or stool. Feeding intolerance is present if at least 20 kcal/kg BW/day via the enteral route cannot be achieved within 72 h of a feeding attempt.
III (GI failure) Loss of GI function. Restoration of GI function is not achieved despite interventions, and the general condition is not improving. Examples: persistent feeding intolerance despite treatment manifested as high gastric residuals, persistent GI paralysis, occurrence or worsening of bowel dilatation, IAP, 15–20 mmHg, low abdominal perfusion pressure (below 60 mmHg). Feeding intolerance is present and possibly associated with persistence or worsening of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.
IV (GI failure with severe impact on distant organ function) AGI has progressed to become directly and immediately life-threatening, with worsening of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and shock. Examples: bowel ischemia with necrosis, GI bleeding leading to hemorrhagic shock, Ogilvie syndrome, abdominal compartment syndrome requiring decompression.
  1. Primary AGI is associated with primary disease or direct injury to organs of the GI system, such as peritonitis, pancreatitis, abdominal surgery. Secondary AGI develops as a consequence of the host response to critical illness without a primary pathology in the GI system, such as GI malfunction in a patient with pneumonia or non-abdominal surgery
  2. AGI acute gastrointestinal injury, BW body weight, GI gastrointestinal, IAP intra-abdominal pressure