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Alternative Names Return to topSpontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP)
Definition Return to top
Peritonitis is swelling (inflammation) of the peritoneum -- the tissue that lines the wall of the abdomen and covers the abdominal organs.
Causes Return to top
Spontaneous peritonitis is usually caused by ascites, a collection of fluid in the peritoneal cavity. This usually occurs from liver or kidney failure.
Risk factors for liver disease include alcoholic cirrhosis and other diseases that lead to cirrhosis, such as viral hepatitis (Hepatitis B or C).
Spontaneous peritonitis also occurs in patients who are on dialysis for kidney failure.
Symptoms Return to top
Other symptoms include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
Tests that show infection:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment depends on the cause of the peritonitis.
You may need to stay in the hospital so health care providers can rule out other causes of peritonitis, such as appendicitis and diverticulitis.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The infection can usually be treated. However, kidney or liver disease may limit recovery.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of peritonitis. This can quickly become an emergency situation.
Prevention Return to top
Patients with peritoneal catheters should be treated with sterile techniques. In cases of liver failure, antibiotics may help prevent peritonitis from coming back.
References Return to top
Runyon BA. Ascites and Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006: chap 88.Update Date: 8/22/2008 Updated by: Christian Stone, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.