Microbiologic features and treatment of persistent peritonitis in patients in the intensive care unit.

O. D. Rotstein, T. L. Pruett, R. L. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The charts of 25 patients who died in the intensive care unit of persistent peritonitis after abdominal operations were reviewed to determine the microbial flora and the efficacy of antibiotic treatment. All patients had undergone two or more surgical procedures for abdominal sepsis and 23 had at least three-system organ failure. The most common organisms cultured were: Staphylococcus epidermidis, 24 cultures from 16 patients, Candida albicans, 19 cultures from 10 patients, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 16 cultures from 12 patients, Enterobacter, 16 cultures from 8 patients and enterococcus, 14 cultures from 8 patients. The classic isolates, Escherichia coli (11 cultures from six patients) and Bacteroides fragilis (4 cultures from three patients) were found infrequently. To determine the adequacy of antimicrobial therapy for this "new" flora, we examined the ability of appropriate agents to eradicate the micro-organism upon subsequent culture. Candida sp. were eradicated in 54% (6 of 11) of the assessable cases, while enterococcus and S. epidermidis were cleared in only 25% and 28% respectively. The spectrum of intra-abdominal organisms cultured from critically ill surgical patients in the intensive care unit differs from that seen in those with acute peritonitis. Despite administration of appropriate antimicrobial agents, these organisms tend to persist, probably reflecting impaired host defences with multiple-system organ failure rather than antimicrobial failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-250
Number of pages4
JournalCanadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1986


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