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Can J Infect Dis. 1991 Winter;2(4):147-54.

Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis: Analysis of treatment and outcome.

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  • 1Infectious Disease Division, Brown University Program In Medicine; and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA.


Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis occurred on 44 separate occasions in 43 patients during a five year period, including 27 culture positive and 17 probable cases of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Alcoholic liver disease was the underlying cause of 72% of cases. Of the 27 culture positive cases, Escherichia coli was the most common isolate (14 cases), followed by Klebsiella pneumoniae (three cases), group G streptococci (three cases), group B streptococci (two cases) and one case each of five other organisms. Bacteremia occurred in 50% of cases and was the same as the peritoneal isolate 88% of the time. The overall mortality rate was 65% (66% culture positive and 60% probable spontaneous bacterial peritonitis). The mean interval between onset of symptoms and death was 10.2±8.6 days in fatal cases. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis was felt to be a contributing cause of mortality in 70% of fatal cases. Survivors were younger (44±20 years versus 59±13, P<0.05) and less likely to develop renal insufficiency than nonsurvivors (38% versus 73%, P<0.05). Patients who were treated with an aminoglycoside were more likely to develop renal failure compared to those treated with nonaminoglycoside regimens (P<0.05). There was no difference in mortality rate between culture positive and culture negative spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, total peritoneal leukocyte counts, Gram-positive versus Gram-negative organisms, presence of bacteremia, or serum albumin or bilirubin levels. The mortality rate for this disease remains unacceptably high, indicating a need for the development of new strategies in the prevention, diagnosis and management of this disease.


Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis

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