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(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.
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, 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


Simonian, K. S. Peritonit. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Inflammation of the peritoneum.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


inflammation of the peritoneum
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The postoperative course of 49 patients (Group 2) was complicated by secondary peritonitis with an overall ICU mortality rate of 22% (11 patients).
A prospective study included five patients with a clinical diagnosis of secondary peritonitis, between January 2008 and July 2009, from Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem Campus, Jerusalem, Israel.
"<<Abdominal dressing>> a new method of treatment for open abdomen following secondary peritonitis," Zentralbl Ghir., Vol.129(Suppl l):S20-3.
Matthaei et al., "Long-term vacuum-assisted closure in open abdomen due to secondary peritonitis: a retrospective evaluation of a selected group of patients," Digestive Surgery, vol.
Spectrum of secondary peritonitis due to hollow viscus perforation in a tertiary care hospital.
This study was conducted as a descriptive study analysing 426 patients of secondary peritonitis from July 2012 till June 2017 at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.
Secondary peritonitis is by far the most common form of peritonitis encountered in clinical practice.
Secondary peritonitis is the most common & follows an intra-peritoneal source usually from perforation of hollow viscera (Infectious like typhoid or non-infectious causes like duodenal ulcer perforation, blunt trauma of abdomen etc.).
All cases were of secondary peritonitis. Most common etiology was hollow viscus perforation in which gastro duodenal perforation was most common found (61.53%) followed by ileal perforation (11.53%) as shown in Table 1.
Secondary peritonitis is most commonly caused by perforation or anastomotic disruption of the digestive tract.
Despite the advances in surgical techniques, Antimicrobial therapy, intensive care support, management of secondary peritonitis continues to be difficult and challenging.
INTRODUCTION: Hollow viscus perforation with secondary peritonitis is an abdominal emergency.