Cirrhosis Complications: Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis

Search Knowledgebase

Topic Contents

Cirrhosis Complications: Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis

Topic Overview

People who have cirrhosis are at risk of developing an infection in the fluid (ascites) that builds up in the abdominal cavity. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is an infection of ascitic fluid that occurs without warning or a clear cause. SBP most often occurs when a person has had cirrhosis for a long time.

SBP infection is treated with antibiotics such as cefotaxime (Claforan). These medicines can kill bacteria usually found in the intestine. Your doctor may do a procedure called paracentesis to collect a sample of fluid from the abdomen. The fluid can be analyzed to find out which antibiotic will work best to kill the bacteria causing the infection.

Most people who are treated with antibiotics recover from the infection. After you recover from an infection of ascitic fluid, you will need to take antibiotics for the rest of your life to prevent the infection from recurring.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Last Revised June 7, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.