The authors declare that they have no competing interest.
CM contributed in designing the study, writing the protocole, analyzing the data, conceiving, writing and reviewing the final paper. FA contributed in designing the study, writing the protocole, collecting and analyzing the data and reviewing the final version of the paper. NN contributed in designing the study, analyzing the data, drafting and revising the final paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Acute diffuse peritonitis is a common surgical emergency worldwide and a major contributor to non-trauma related death toll. Its causes vary widely and are correlated with mortality. Community acquired peritonitis seems to play a major role and is frequently related to hollow viscus perforation. Data on the outcome of peritonitis in the tropics are scarce. The aim of this study is to analyze the impact of tropic latitude causes of diffuse peritonitis on morbidity and mortality.
We retrospectively reviewed the records of 305 patients operated on for a diffuse peritonitis in two regional hospitals in the South-West Region of Cameroon over a 7 years period. The contributions of various causes of peritonitis to morbidity and mortality were analyzed.
The diagnosis of diffuse peritonitis was suggested on clinical ground only in more than 93 % of cases. The most common causes of diffuse peritonitis included peptic ulcer perforation (n = 69), complications of acute appendicitis (n = 53) and spontaneous perforations of the terminal ileum (n = 43). A total of 142 complications were recorded in 96 patients (31.5 % complication rate). The most common complications included wound dehiscence, sepsis, prolonged paralytic ileus and multi-organ failure. Patients with typhoid perforation of the terminal ileum carried a significantly higher risk of developing a complication (p = 0.002). The overall mortality rate was 15.1 %. The most common cause of death was septic shock. Differential analysis of mortality of various causes of peritonitis indicated that the highest contributors to death toll were typhoid perforation of terminal ileum (34.7 % of deaths), post-operative peritonitis (19.5 %) and peptic ulcer perforation (15.2 %).
The diagnosis of diffuse peritonitis can still rely on clinical assessment alone in the absence of sophisticated imaging tools. Peptic ulcer and typhoid perforations are still major contributors to death toll. Patients presenting with these conditions require specific attention and prevention policies must be reinforced.