[Peritonitis: main reason of severe sepsis in surgical intensive care]

G Weiss, W Steffanie, H Lippert
Zentralblatt Für Chirurgie 2007, 132 (2): 130-7

INTRODUCTION: Aim of the study was to determine the epidemiology of sepsis in an university surgical intensive care unit. We were mainly interested in getting information about incidence, reason and clinical course of peritonitis. The results should give more information about diagnostic and therapy of sepsis in the surgical intensive care.

METHODS: We analyzed our 2 676 ICU-patients from 2000 to 2002 with infection as main diagnosis. By means of medical report we analyzed the kind of infection and the clinical course of 561 (21 %) patients. For 356 (13.3 %) patients with peritonitis we observed the kind, the reason and the severity of infection and further the special events in the clinical course.

RESULTS: The incidence of severe sepsis was 14.8 %. With 63 % the peritonitis is the main infectiological diagnosis on admission to ICU. 33.8 % of infections are hospital acquired. 71.3 % of patients with peritonitis developed a severe sepsis or septic shock during the clinical course. On average 4.7 further abdominal surgical interventions and 5.1 new occurring nosocomial infections marked a difficult surgical and infectious treatment course. Hospital acquired infections (70 %), high value of scoring and inadequate surgical treatment (23.7 %) have proved to be a good prognostic instrument for the development of tertiary peritonitis. With a share of 17 % from patients with peritonitis and a mortality of 35 % they have a strong influence on the ICU-mortality.

CONCLUSION: Peritonitis is the main reason of severe sepsis on the surgical ICU. Hospital acquired infections especially the tertiary peritonitis have the highest mortality. High mortality is the consequence from the large number of difficult clinical courses and high rates of severe sepsis and septic shock. "Second hits" play a crucial role for the therapy and the prognosis of these patients. To decline the mortality future studies must more consider the problem of hospital acquired and tertiary abdominal infections.

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