Intra-abdominal infections (IAI) occur due to disruption of the normal anatomic barrier.
In the hollow viscera is where common disruptions occur, which allows intraluminal bacteria to invade and proliferate in the usually sterile area (ie peritoneal cavity or retroperitoneum).
Community-acquired intra-abdominal infection is usually secondary to gastroduodenal perforation, ascending cholangitis, cholecystitis, appendicitis, colon diverticulitis with or without perforation, or pancreatitis.
Uncomplicated IAI infectious process involves only a single organ and does not extend to the peritoneum.
Complicated IAI is when infection extends beyond the hollow viscus of origin into the peritoneal space and may be associated with peritonitis or abscess formation.
In this series, we present authoritative advice on the investigation of a common clinical problem, especially commissioned for family doctors and written by members of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.