Complicated Intraabdominal Infections

Richard Basilan

Intra-abdominal infections may either be uncomplicated (limited to the gut lumen, such as gastroenteritis or colitis) or complicated (extending through to the peritoneum) (Sol-omkin et al., 2010). The clinical presentation of complicated intra-abdominal infections can range from mild symptoms such as nausea, mild abdominal pain, and cramping to life-threatening septic shock.

Clinical findings result from local or diffuse inflammation with or without abscess formation. Fever and abdominal pain are typically present, with additional symptoms depending on the organ involved. Elderly and immuno-compromised patients present with atypical, usually milder symptoms. Imaging studies form an important adjunct to diagnosis. Management involves empiric antibiotic coverage for bowel flora—mainly streptococci, enterococci, enteric gram-negative rods, and anaerobes—as well as controlling the source of infection, usually through surgery.

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