Unsolved Issues in the Treatment of Spontaneous Peritonitis in Patients with Cirrhosis: Nosocomial Versus Community-acquired Infections and the Role of Fungi

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Author(s): Alberto Enrico Maraolo*, Antonio Riccardo Buonomo, Emanuela Zappulo, Riccardo Scotto, Biagio Pinchera, Ivan Gentile.

Journal Name: Reviews on Recent Clinical Trials

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Introduction: Historically, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) has represented one of the most frequent and relevant infectious complications of advanced liver disease, and this is still valid today. Nevertheless, in recent years the role of fungi as causative pathogens of primary peritonitis in patients with cirrhosis has become not negligible. Another issue is linked with the traditional distinction, instrumental in therapeutic choice, between community-acquired and nosocomial forms, according to the onset. Between these two categories, another one has been introduced: the so-called “healthcare-associated infections”. Objective: To discuss the most controversial aspects in the management of SBP nowadays in the light of best available evidence. Methods: A review of recent literature through MEDLINE was performed. Results: The difference between community-acquired and nosocomial infections is crucial to guide empiric antibiotic therapy, since the site of acquisition impact on the likelihood of multidrug-resistant bacteria as causative agents. Therefore, third-generation cephalosporins cannot be considered the mainstay of treatment in each episode. Furthermore, the distinction between healthcare-associated and nosocomial form seems very subtle, especially in areas wherein antimicrobial resistance is widespread, warranting broad-spectrum antibiotic regimens for both. Finally, spontaneous fungal peritonitis is a not common but actually underestimated entity, linked to high mortality. Especially in patients with septic shock and/or failure of an aggressive antibiotic regimen, the empiric addition of an antifungal agent might be considered. Conclusion: Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis is one of the most important complications in patients with cirrhosis. A proper empiric therapy is crucial to have a positive outcome. In this respect, a careful assessment of risk factors for multidrug-resistant pathogens is crucial. Likewise important, mostly in nosocomial cases, is not to overlook the probability of a fungal ascitic infection, namely a spontaneous fungal peritonitis.

Keywords: cirrhosis, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, spontaneous fungal peritonitis, advanced liver diseases, multidrug-resistant

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(E-pub Ahead of Print)
DOI: 10.2174/1574887114666181204102516
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