Peritonitis – Epidemiology and Management at A Rural Hospital in Zambia

Sergiy Karachentsev

Roan Antelope General Hospital

Correspondence to: Dr. Sergiy Karachentsev, P.O. Box 90297, Luanshya, Zambia. Phone: +260212515010. Fax: +260212671151. Email:  


Background: Peritonitis is a common surgical emergency encountered the world over with varying etiologies. It is associated with significant morbidity and mortality despite intensive research and advances in management.

Objectives: To describe epidemiology of peritonitis in rural population of Zambia. To assess the role of a low-volume surgical hospital in the treatment of peritonitis.

Methods: The records of 119 patients operated on for peritonitis at a rural surgical hospital in Zambia over a 10-year period were retrospectively reviewed. The contributions of various causes of peritonitis to morbidity and mortality were analyzed.

Results: There were 73 males (61.4%) and 46 females (38.6%). The common sources of peritonitis were perforated peptic ulcer, acute appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and perforation of terminal ileum. Post-operative period became complicated in 42 patients (32.3%). Fourteen patients (11.8%) died post-operatively. The highest level of mortality was in patients with perforated peptic ulcer (26%). Organ failure was found in 29 patients (24.4%) and was associated with increased risk of death.

Conclusions: Individual approach with identification of signs of organ failure is essential to determine the patient’s prognosis and decide on the level of care. Patients without organ dysfunction could be successfully managed in rural surgical hospital.



Keywords: Peritonitis, epidemiology, morbidity, mortality, rural hospital, Zambia


Ann Afr Surg. ****; **(*):***


Conflicts of Interest: None

Funding: None

© 2020 Author. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


All content copyright © 2020 Annals of African Surgery.

ISSN (print): 1999-9674; ISSN (online): 2523-0816

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