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Peritoneal sample
Peritoneal sample


Abdominal organs
Abdominal organs


Gastroschisis repair  - series
Gastroschisis repair - series


Definition:

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



Alternative Names:

Acute abdomen



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

A collection of pus in the abdomen, called an intra-abdominal abscess , may cause peritonitis.

See the specific types of peritonitis:



Symptoms:

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease include:

  • Cloudy dialysis fluid (if undergoing peritoneal dialysis )
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shaking chills
  • Signs of shock


Signs and tests:

The doctor will perform a physical exam. The abdomen is usually tender, and may feel firm and "board-like." The patient may extensively "guard" the area, using protective movements such as curling up or refusing to allow the area to be touched.

Blood tests, x-rays, and CT scans may be ordered.



Treatment:

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



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

With treatment, patients usually do well. Without treatment, the outcome is usually poor. However, in some cases, patients do poorly even with prompt and appropriate treatment.



Complications:

Peritonitis can be life threatening and may cause a number of different complications. Complications depend on the specific type of peritonitis.



Calling your health care provider:

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



Prevention:

Prevention depends on the cause. See the specific types of peritonitis.



References:

Turnage RH, Richardson KA, Li BD, McDonald JC. Abdominal Wall, Umbilicus, Peritoneum, Mesenteries, Omentum, and Retroperitoneum. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2008:chap 43.




Review Date: 7/22/2008
Reviewed By: Shimul A. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. 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.
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