A patient undergoing peritoneal dialysis is being assessed by the nurse for signs of peritonitis. Which of the following would indicate peritonitis?

Rebound tenderness
Rigid abdomen

Explanation

• Peritonitis is an infection of the abdominal wall lining, the peritoneum. This inflammation is usually the result of an infection. Peritoneal dialysis patients are at higher risk for developing peritonitis because the dialysis catheter is inserted into the peritoneum. The catheter is also a way for bacteria to possibly enter the peritoneum and cause infection.

• Peritonitis will cause cloudy dialysate output in a patient receiving peritoneal dialysis.

• Other symptoms of peritonitis include rebound tenderness (pain elicited when releasing pressure during palpation), a rigid abdomen, fever, malaise, and nausea.

• A slight increase in temperature or slight abdominal pain can occur with many diseases and are not clear indicators of peritonitis.

• Peritonitis would not affect the urine and result in hematuria.

• RBCs do not tell about possible infections (WBCs do) so elevated RBCs is not a sign of peritonitis or other infection.

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