Listeria monocytogenes as a Cause of Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis

Elsa Araujo, Manuel Barbosa, Joao Costelha, Marta Pereira, Joana Serodio


Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis is a common and often serious complication of long standing ascites in the presence of advanced liver disease. We report a case of a 74-year-old woman with alcoholic cirrhosis admitted to our emergency department with a 1-week history of diffuse abdominal pain and increased abdominal perimeter. On physical examination, she had a significant abdominal distention and a positive fluid wave consistent with ascites. A diagnosis of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis was made and empiric therapy with ceftriaxone was started but the patients condition worsened. Four days later Listeria monocytogenes was detected in peritoneal fluid culture and ampicillin was initiated according to in vitro sensibility test. The patient completed 14 days of treatment with clinical and laboratory improvement. Listeria is an uncommon cause of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Clinicians should be aware of the uncommon agents of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, mainly when there is not a proper response to therapy.

J Med Cases. 2019;10(9):257-259


Alcoholic cirrhosis; Ascites; Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis; Listeria monocytogenes

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