What is the role of fibrinolysis in the pathogenesis of peritonitis and abdominal sepsis?

Updated: Jul 23, 2019
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Alterations in fibrinolysis (through increased plasminogen activator inhibitor activity) and the production of fibrin exudates have an important role in peritonitis. The production of fibrin exudates is an important part of the host defense, but large numbers of bacteria may be sequestered within the fibrin matrix. This may retard systemic dissemination of intraperitoneal infection and may decrease early mortality rates from sepsis, but it also is integral to the development of residual infection and abscess formation. As the fibrin matrix matures, the bacteria within are protected from host clearance mechanisms.

Whether fibrin ultimately results in containment or persistent infection may depend on the degree of peritoneal bacterial contamination. In animal studies of mixed bacterial peritonitis that examined the effects of systemic defibrinogenation and those of abdominal fibrin therapy, heavy peritoneal contamination uniformly led to severe peritonitis with early death (< 48 h) because of overwhelming sepsis.

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