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peritonitis(pĕr'ĭtənī`tĭs), acute or chronic inflammation of the peritoneumperitoneum
, multilayered membrane which lines the abdominal cavity, and supports and covers the organs within it. The part of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity is called the parietal peritoneum.
..... Click the link for more information. , the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and surrounds the internal organs. It is caused by invasion of bacterial agents or irritant foreign matter during rupture of an internal organ, by spreading infection from the female genital tract, by penetrating injuries of the abdominal wall, by dissemination of infections through the blood and lymphatic channels, or by accidental pollution during surgery. Typically, peritonitis is a serious complication of another abdominal disorder, such as appendicitis, ulcers, colitis, or rupture of the gall bladder. Severe abdominal pain, vomiting, prostration, and high fever are predominant symptoms. Treatment includes antibiotic therapy and the identification and elimination of the cause of the infection.
inflammation of the peritoneum. Peritonitis can result from a variety of diseases and traumas of the abdominal organs, including acute appendicitis, perforating gastric or duodenal ulcers, and intestinal obstructions; it can also develop from surgical complications. The causative agents are either cocci or Escherichia coli; when peritonitis is caused by the latter, for example, in perforating appendicitis or perforation of an intestinal tumor, the course of the inflammation can be very severe.
Depending on the distribution of the inflammatory process, peritonitis can be circumscribed, that is, confined to some portion of the abdominal cavity, or diffuse. The clinical picture of acute abdomen consists of the symptoms of diffuse peritonitis— namely, sharp abdominal pain, vomiting, retention of stools and gases in a condition called adynamic ileus, local or diffuse rigidity of the abdominal muscles, marked tenderness upon palpation of the anterior abdominal wall, and systemic intoxication as evidenced by fever, increased heart rate, and neutrophilic leukocytosis.
Chronic peritonitis, which is usually encountered in tuberculosis, is rare. The exudative form is attended by an accumulation of exudate in the abdominal cavity, while the adhesive form is marked by the appearance of massive adhesions. Serous, purulent, fibrocaseous, and septic peritonites are distinguished according to the type of exudate. Peritonitis is treated surgically and can be prevented by prompt diagnosis and treatment of acute abdominal conditions.
REFERENCESimonian, K. S. Peritonit. Moscow, 1971.
R. B. KAVTELADZE