Infection of the abdominal cavity is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. When untreated, about 90 per cent of patients will die from sepsis. The conventional management approach is elimination of the source of peritoneal contamination, removal of purulent material, parenteral antibiotic administration, and hemodynamic and respiratory support. This results in complete recovery in most patients. However, it may fail in patients with severe infection caused, for example, by perforation of the colon, leakage of intestinal anastomoses, and pancreatic necrosis. The mortality of these conditions remains high, varying from 20 to 60 per cent (McLauchlan,, eta[: 1995). Many patients have persistent or recurrent intra-abdominal infection and eventually die from multiple organ dysfunction.

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