INTRODUCTION: Since the second World Congress on the Abdominal Compartment Syndrome (WCACS) in Noosa 2 years ago, interest and publications on intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and ACS have increased exponentially.This paper aimed to critically review recent publications and put this new data into the context of already acquired knowledge concerning IAH/ACS. METHODS: A Medline and PubMed search was performed from January 2005 up to now using "intra-abdominal pressure (IAP)", "intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH)", "abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS)" and "decompressive laparotomy" as search items. RESULTS: Although consensus definitions of IAH/ACS have been formulated recently, data on awareness are still disconcerting. Several groups refined current IAP measurement techniques and tested new direct IAP measurement devices for use in selected subpopulations. A series of recent publications identified specific patient subpopulations in IAH/ACS, like patients with burns or severe acute pancreatitis, with their specific pathophysiology and therapy. Although many studies already assessed the effect of elevated IAP on regional and micro-circulatory organ perfusion, a number of new publications attempted to unravel the link between elevated IAP and more "downstream" organ function or histology. Finally, therapy for IAH/ACS still reveals more questions than it answers. Global resuscitation does not necessarily equate with organ resuscitation. In fact, fluid-resuscitation may even induce IAH/ACS. CONCLUSIONS: After publication of consensus guidelines on IAH/ACS, there is an urgent need for human intervention studies and, in parallel, clinically relevant animal models. Given moderately low incidence of ACS and the complex and interrelated pathologies of the critically ill patient with IAH/ACS, large animal models of pathology-induced IAH/ACS might create the opportunity to gain clinically relevant knowledge on the treatment of IAH/ACS.