Peritonitis: treatments

Peritonitis is often a medical emergency (and even surgical), the patient must then be operated as quickly as possible. In case of inadequate or inadequate management, peritonitis can lead to serious complications or even death of the patient.

The treatment depends in particular on the cause causing the peritonitis. If internal organs are inflamed and perforated, the surgeon may remove the organ in question (for example: gall bladder, appendicitis, or a portion of the intestine), or stitches the perforated organ.

In some cases, too, the surgeon may have to perform a colostomy: placement of an artificial anus (if for example a part of the large intestine, colon must be removed).

The surgeon then proceeds to wash the abdominal cavity, using saline solution to remove accumulations of pus and bacteria that have formed as a result of inflammation and infection.

Also performed is drainage of the abdomen: a very fine tube is introduced into the abdominal cavity to evacuate the exudate, even after the operation. When, in severe cases, drainage is not sufficient, it may be necessary to perform a second lavage of the abdominal cell by surgery.

After the operation, the patient stays in the intensive care unit as generalized peritonitis can lead to severe sepsis, endangering the patient's life.

As part of this intensive care, the patient needs different specific care and careful medical supervision, until the intestine resumes normal functioning (intestinal peristalsis - intestinal movements), and that the heart and blood circulation have stabilized.

Specific care may concern:

  • the placement of an artificial anus (colostomy),
  • artificial respiration (ventilation),
  • feeding by a gastric tube.

The patient is also given antibiotics and painkillers.

In rare cases, when peritonitis has been diagnosed early and provided that no other organ is inflamed or injured, antibiotic therapy may be sufficient to treat peritonitis without the need for surgery.

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