Locations Main Campus: Chesterfield, MO 63017   |   Locations
314-434-1500 314-434-1500   |   Contact Us

Multimedia Encyclopedia


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Peritonitis

Acute abdomen; Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis; SBP; Cirrhosis - spontaneous peritonitis

 

Peritonitis is an inflammation (irritation) of the peritoneum. This is the thin tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs.

Causes

 

Peritonitis is caused by a collection of blood, body fluids, or pus in the belly (abdomen).

One type is called spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SPP). It occurs in people with ascites. Ascites is the buildup of fluid in the space between the lining of the abdomen and the organs. This problem is found in people with long-term liver damage, certain cancers, and heart failure.

Peritonitis may be a result of other problems. These include:

  • Trauma or wounds to the belly
  • Ruptured appendix
  • Ruptured diverticula
  • Infection after any surgery in the belly

 

Symptoms

 

The belly is very painful or tender. The pain may become worse when the belly is touched or when you move.

Your belly may look or feel bloated. This is called abdominal distention.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Passing little or no stools or gas
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Passing less urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath

 

Exams and Tests

 

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. The abdomen is usually tender. It may feel firm or "board-like." People with peritonitis usually curl up or refuse to let anyone touch the area.

Blood tests, x-rays, and CT scans may be done. If there is a lot of fluid in the belly area, the provider may use a needle to remove some and send it for testing.

 

Treatment

 

The cause must be identified and treated right away. Treatment typically involves surgery and antibiotics.

 

Possible Complications

 

Peritonitis can be life threatening and may cause complications. These depend on the type of peritonitis.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have symptoms of peritonitis.

 

 

References

Kuemmerle JF. Inflammatory and anatomic diseases of the intestine, peritoneum, mesentery, and omentum. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 142.

Levinson ME, Bush LM. Peritonitis and intraperitoneal abscesses. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 76.

Runyon BA; AASLD. Introduction to the revised American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Practice Guideline: management of adult patients with ascites due to cirrhosis 2012. Hepatology. 2013;57(4):1651-1653. PMID: 23463403 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23463403.

 
  • Peritoneal sample

    Peritoneal sample - illustration

    The peritoneum is the membrane lining the abdominal cavity.

    Peritoneal sample

    illustration

  • Abdominal organs

    Abdominal organs - illustration

    The stomach and intestines are the main organs of digestion, coverting and breaking down food into substances which are either absorbed by or excreted from the body.

    Abdominal organs

    illustration

  • Gastroschisis repair  - series

    Gastroschisis repair - series

    Presentation

    • Peritoneal sample

      Peritoneal sample - illustration

      The peritoneum is the membrane lining the abdominal cavity.

      Peritoneal sample

      illustration

    • Abdominal organs

      Abdominal organs - illustration

      The stomach and intestines are the main organs of digestion, coverting and breaking down food into substances which are either absorbed by or excreted from the body.

      Abdominal organs

      illustration

    • Gastroschisis repair - series

      Presentation

    Self Care

     

      Tests for Peritonitis

       

         

        Review Date: 2/27/2016

        Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
        adam.com

         
         
         

         

         

        A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.



        Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.