Intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) associated with organ dysfunction defines the abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS). Elevated intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) adversely impacts pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, splanchnic, musculoskeletal/integumentary, and central nervous system physiology. The combination of IAH and disordered physiology results in a clinical syndrome with significant morbidity and mortality. The onset of the ACS requires prompt recognition and appropriately timed and staged intervention in order to optimize outcome. The history, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and management of this disorder is outlined.