Complications of peritonitis

Serious complications of peritonitis can occur if the infection spreads to other parts of the body.

You'll usually be admitted to hospital if you are diagnosed with peritonitis, so any problems can be identified and treated as quickly as possible.


Septicaemia can occur if the infection spreads through the blood (septicaemia) and then to other organs.

If sepsis is not treated, it can become severe sepsis. This occurs when one or more organs are damaged by the infection, or when there is a significant loss of blood supply to tissues and organs.

The symptoms of sepsis usually develop quickly and include:

  • a fever or high temperature over 38C (100.4F)
  • chills
  • a fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing

Treatment for sepsis involves fluids being given directly into a vein (intravenous fluid therapy) and antibiotic injections.

If sepsis is not treated promptly, it can develop into septic shock.

Septic shock

Septic shock is a type of sepsis that causes a massive drop in blood pressure. This leads to symptoms of shock, such as cold skin and an increased heartbeat.

Sepsis can interfere with many of the body's vital processes, including blood pressure, breathing and organ function, and can result in death.

Treatment usually requires admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) , where the functions of the body's organs are supported while the infection is treated.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016