November 1961

I. The Treatment of Generalized Peritonitis

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, University of Mississippi Medical Center (Dr. Hardy); Associate Clinical Professor, Cornell University (Dr. Dineen), and University of Miami School of Medicine (Dr. Farrell).

Arch Surg. 1961;83(5):787-788. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300170143029

We feel it is a good time to reexamine the problem of generalized peritonitis.

As many other causes of surgical mortality have become less important, the deaths resulting from peritonitis have become more prominent and less acceptable.

We certainly have our quota of cases of peritonitis at home. These derive from gunshot wounds and other injuries, ruptured appendix, ruptured tubovarian abscess, perforation of a peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, small bowel gangrene, and colon perforations due to a variety of circumstances, among other causes. Obviously, then, the management of peritonitis must usually begin with a diagnosis as to the etiology.

Perforated ulcers should be closed, gunshot wounds should be explored, gangrenous small bowel should be resected, and other conditions must be handled according to the dictates of the clinical situation. Incidentally, we have used paracentesis for the last year or so fairly routinely in arriving at a diagnosis of peritonitis in certain

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