Peritonitis (inflammation of abdominal cavity)


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Description

Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, the thin membrane that lines the abdominal wall and covers the organs inside. The inflammation is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection of this membrane.

There are two major types of peritonitis. Primary peritonitis is caused by the spread of an infection from the blood and lymph nodes to the peritoneum. This type of peritonitis is rare -- less than 1% of all cases of peritonitis. The more common type of peritonitis, called secondary peritonitis, happens when the infection comes into the peritoneum from the gastrointestinal or biliary tract. Both cases of peritonitis are very serious and can be life threatening if not treated quickly.

Causes and Risk factors

Primary peritonitis is usually caused by liver disease. Fluid builds up in the abdomen, creating an environment for bacteria to grow.

Secondary peritonitis is caused by other conditions that allow bacteria, enzymes, or bile into the peritoneum from a hole or tear in the gastrointestinal or biliary tracts. Such tears can be caused by pancreatitis, a ruptured appendix, stomach ulcer, Crohns disease, or diverticulitis. Peritoneal dialysis, which uses the blood vessels in the abdomen to filter waste from your blood when your kidneys can t do so, also may cause peritonitis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

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