Which clinical history findings are characteristic of pneumococcal peritonitis?

Updated: Jun 08, 2020
  • Author: Eduardo Sanchez, MD; Chief Editor: John L Brusch, MD, FACP  more...
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Overall, primary peritonitis (peritonitis caused by the spread of organisms via blood or lymph to the peritoneal cavity) is rare, accounting for less than 20% of peritonitis cases.

S pneumoniae is the most commonly isolated organism in patients with primary peritonitis. Primary peritonitis in children is usually associated with underlying conditions such as nephrotic syndrome or other immunocompromising diseases. In adults, primary peritonitis is usually associated with cirrhosis.

Females with severe pelvic inflammatory disease due to S pneumoniae infection may develop peritonitis. In such cases, organisms may gain access to the peritoneum via the fallopian tubes from the female genital tract. This is the only invasive disease caused by S pneumoniae infection that is more common in females. Other persons at risk for peritonitis include persons with gastrointestinal injury, ulcers, or malignancy.

Presenting symptoms of peritonitis include abdominal pain, anorexia, emesis, diarrhea, and fever. Children may present atypically with right lower quadrant abdominal pain that may be mistaken for appendicitis.

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