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Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis among adult patients with ascites attending Korle-bu Teaching Hospital

Amoako Duah
Kofi N Nkrumah


Background: Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is one of the most common and life-threatening complications of ascites, mostly in patients with cirrhotic ascites and children with nephrotic syndrome. Recognition and prompt treatment of this condition is essential to prevent serious morbidity and mortality. It is therefore important to determine the prevalence of SBP among in-patients with ascites attending our facility and to determine the clinical characteristics associated with SBP among these patients.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 140 patients with ascites irrespective of the underlying cause from 25th March 2016 to 25th November 2016. Demographic information and clinical data were collected using a standardized questionnaire. Ascitic fluid culture, the gold standard for SBP diagnosis and ascitic fluid cell count was done. Positive ascitic fluid culture and/ or ascitic polymorpho nuclear leukocyte ≥250cells/mm3 were diagnostic for SBP

Results: Of the 140 patients with ascites the mean age was 44.7±13.2 years. There were seventy six (76) male and sixty four (64) female patients. The prevalence of SBP was 21.43% (30/140). Majority, (41.7%) of the bacteria isolated from ascitic fluid with SBP was Escherichia coli. History of jaundice, low arterial blood pressure on admission and encephalopathy were found to be independent predictors of SBP.

Conclusion: SBP is common among patients with ascites admitted at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Jaundice, encephalopathy and low blood pressure are highly suggestive of SBP and diagnostic paracentesis should be done immediately on admission to confirm the diagnosis.

Funding: None

Keywords: Ascites, Spontaneous, Bacterial, Peritonitis, Ghana