Peritonitis is an inflammatory process similar in its fundamental character to inflammation elsewhere in the body but modified by the functional activities peculiar to the peritoneum. Absorption of diffusible bacterial toxins, passage of bacteria, omental migration and intestinal motor activity are some of the pertinent processes which determine the outcome of peritoneal inflammation. The nature of the invading bacteria and the host's protective response supply most of the variable factors which modify the course of the disease. Since inflammation is essentially a defense measure, the local lesion of the peritoneum is necessarily a protective mechanism. The systemic effects may be considered results of the struggle between the infecting bacteria and the host.
In order to evaluate the relative significance of the factors in peritonitis, it is essential to determine the histologic progression of the disease, the progressive exudative changes and the nature of the damage to the host. It is
STEINBERG B. STAGES IN PERITONITIS BASED ON THE DEFENSE MECHANISM IN RELATION TO TREATMENT. Arch Surg. 1939;39(5):770-782. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1939.01200170081007