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Peritonitis. Excised portion of the small intestine affected by peritonitis, a life- threatening inflammation of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and its organs. The inflammation is usually due to bacterial infection, and this is nearly always caused by bacteria from the digestive system entering the abdominal cavity through a rupture in part of the gastrointestinal tract. Common causes of this include a ruptured appendix or an abdominal wound. Treatment is with antibiotics, but if it is left untreated it is nearly always fatal.
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