Podcast 613: Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 613: Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis


Contributor: Sam Killian, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is an infection of peritoneal fluid that typically occurs in cirrhotic patients
  • Symptoms may include abdominal pain, fever, and/or altered mental status
  • Paracentesis is diagnostic test of choice.
  • Diagnostic criteria includes > 250 polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) or a positive gram stain/culture
  • Treatment is typically a 3rd generation cephalosporin
  • ·30-40% of SBP patients will go into renal failure and SBP associated with sepsis has an ~80% mortality


Dever JB, Sheikh MY. Review article: spontaneous bacterial peritonitis–bacteriology, diagnosis, treatment, risk factors and prevention. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Jun;41(11):1116-31. doi: 10.1111/apt.13172. Epub 2015 Mar 26. PMID: 25819304.

MacIntosh T. Emergency Management of Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis – A Clinical Review. Cureus. 2018 Mar 1;10(3):e2253. doi: 10.7759/cureus.2253. PMID: 29721399; PMCID: PMC5929973.


Summarized by Jackson Roos, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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