Intraabdominal infection

Refers to a disease caused by organisms, usually bacterial or fungal, situated within the cavity of the abdomen.

The infection may be in the retroperitoneal space or the peritoneal cavity.

The infection can arise as a result of surgery.


Intraperitoneal infections may be diffuse or localized in one or more abscesses in recesses such as the pelvic space or perihepatic spaces. 

Abscesses also form about diseased viscera.

Treatment depends on the type of infectious organism and the site of the infection.

Such infections include approximately 300,000 cases of appendicitis, and at least twice that many cases of non–appendiceal infection requiring management.

Morbididity ranges from about 5% of patients evaluated in observational studies to close to 50% in the elderly or critically ill.

Management includes recuscitation of those with systemic inflammatory response syndrome, control the source of contamination, removing infected or necrotic material that may be present, and administering antimicrobial agents to eradicate residual pathogens.


Outcomes in patients with intra-abdominal infections who have undergone a successful procedure to control the source of infection and receive a fixed, four day course of antimicrobial therapy appear similar to outcomes in patients who systemic antimicrobial agents are continued until after the resolution of signs and symptoms of sepsis (Sawyer RG et al).

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