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The Relationship Between Intra-Abdominal Pressure and Body Acceleration During Exercise

de Gennaro, Johanna Day MS*; de Gennaro, Claire K. MS; Shaw, Janet M. PhD; Petelenz, Tomasz J. PhD*; Nygaard, Ingrid E. MD, MS§; Hitchcock, Robert W. PhD*

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: May/June 2019 - Volume 25 - Issue 3 - p 231–237
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000523
Original Articles

Objectives High intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) may influence the development of pelvic floor disorders. We and others have used intravaginal pressure transducers to measure IAP in women during exercise and daily activities, but utilizing the transducer for long-term measurements creates compliance issues. Waist-worn accelerometers are prominent in research and may be a reliable alternative for approximating IAP. We hypothesized that there are pair-wise positive correlations between the mean maximal accelerometer vector magnitude and 2 IAP measurements: mean maximal IAP and area under the curve (AUC).

Methods Twenty-five women who regularly participated in exercise performed 13 activities. Intra-abdominal pressure was measured with an intravaginal transducer and acceleration with a waist-worn accelerometer. We determined the mean maximal IAP, AUC for IAP, and mean maximal accelerometer vector magnitude for each activity and participant. The relationship between IAP and acceleration was determined by computing the Pearson correlation coefficient (R) and the 95% confidence interval for mean maximal accelerometer vector magnitude versus mean maximal IAP and mean maximal accelerometer vector magnitude versus AUC for IAP.

Results The R values were 0.7353 for mean maximal accelerometer vector magnitude versus mean maximal IAP (including walking) and 0.5059 for mean maximal accelerometer vector magnitude versus AUC for IAP (excluding walking). Walking at 3 speeds, analyzed separately, presented R values of 0.72208 for mean maximal IAP and 0.21678 for AUC.

Conclusion Waist-worn accelerometers may provide a viable method for approximating mean maximal IAP in a population of women during most activities.

This study shows that waist worn accelerometers can be a reliable alternative for approximating intra-abdominal pressure in certain activities

From the *Department of Bioengineering,

School of Medicine,

Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation, and

§Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Correspondence: Robert W. Hitchcock, PhD, Department of Bioengineering, University of Utah, 36 S Wasatch Drive, 4509 SMBB, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. E-mail:

The project described was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (grant 1P01HD080629). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

The authors have declared they have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.