Secondary peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, the thin tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs.
Secondary means it is due to another condition, most commonly the spread of an infection from the digestive tract.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Secondary peritonitis has several major causes. Bacteria may enter the peritoneum through a hole (perforation) in the gastrointestinal tract. Such a hole may be caused by a ruptured appendix, stomach ulcer, perforated colon, or injury, such as a gunshot or knife wound.
Secondary peritonitis can also occur when
Foreign contaminants can also cause secondary peritonitis if they get into the peritoneal cavity. This can occur during use of peritoneal dialysis catheters or feeding tubes.
Inflammation of the peritoneal cavity caused by bacteria can result in infection of the bloodstream (sepsis) and severe illness.
Secondary peritonitis can also affect premature babies who have
Abdominal distention(swelling) Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
Fever Low urine output
Note: There may be signs of
Signs and tests
Tests may include:
- Blood chemistry, including pancreatic enzymes
- Complete blood count
- Liver and kidney function tests
- X-rays or CT scan
Peritoneal fluid culture
Surgery is usually necessary to remove sources of infection such as an infected bowel, inflamed appendix, or
General treatment includes:
- Fluids through a vein (IV)
- Pain medicines
- Tube through the nose into the stomach or intestine (nasogastric or NG tube)
The outcome depends on the underlying cause, the duration of symptoms before treatment, and the general health of the patient. Outcomes can range from complete recovery to overwhelming infection and death, depending on these factors.
- Gangrene (dead) bowel
adhesions( (a potential cause of future bowel blockage) Septic shock
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of