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An overview of the pathophysiology and treatment of secondary peritonitis

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Intraabdominal infection was first thoroughly described by Hippocrates. Centuries later, despite advances in surgical and supportive therapies, this disease state continues to be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This article reviews the literature on intraabdominal infections. It describes the pathophysiology, classification, and etiology of intraabdominal infections, focusing primarily on secondary peritonitis. The bacteriology of the gastrointestinal tract in both the normal and infected host is reviewed. Treatment options, including newly approved antimicrobial agents and agents under clinical investigation, are reviewed.

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