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Peritoneal culture
Peritoneal culture


Peritoneal fluid culture is a laboratory test performed on a sample of peritoneal fluid to isolate and identify the presence of microorganisms that cause infection (peritonitis ).

Peritoneal fluid is the fluid from the peritoneal cavity, a space between two membranes lining the abdominal cavity.

Alternative Names:

Culture - peritoneal fluid

How the test is performed:

The test is performed by abdominal tap , a needle aspiration of the peritoneal cavity. A sample of fluid is sent to the laboratory for gram stain and culture preparation. The sample is examined regularly for the growth of microorganisms.

How to prepare for the test:

Empty your bladder before your abdominal tap procedure.

How the test will feel:

A small area in your abdomen will be cleaned with an antiseptic. You will also receive local anesthesia. You will then feel pressure as the needle is inserted. If a large amount of fluid is withdrawn, you may feel dizzy or light-headed.

Why the test is performed:

The test is done to find out if there is an infection in the peritoneal space.

Normal Values:

Peritoneal fluid is a sterile fluid, so normally no organisms are present.

What abnormal results mean:

The growth of any microorganism, such as bacteria or fungi, from peritoneal fluid is abnormal and represents peritonitis.

What the risks are:

There is a small risk of the needle puncturing the bowel, bladder, or a blood vessel in the abdomen, possibly resulting in bowel perforation, bleeding, and infection.

Special considerations:

The diagnosis of peritonitis is based on more than just the peritoneal fluid culture (which may remain negative even in the presence of peritonitis).

Review Date: 1/27/2008
Reviewed By: D. Scott Smith, M.D., MSc, DTM&H, Chief of Infectious Disease & Geographic Medicine, Kaiser Redwood City, CA & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Stanford University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100