Published online Mar 27, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i3.304
Peer-review started: August 29, 2014
First decision: November 14, 2014
Revised: November 30, 2014
Accepted: December 29, 2014
Article in press: December 31, 2014
Published online: March 27, 2015
Core tip: Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is a frequent infection in patients with liver cirrhosis which is associated with a poor prognosis. Portal hypertension leads to translocation of intestinal bacteria which cannot be eliminated due to immune defects caused by liver cirrhosis and genetic predisposition. Empirical antibiotic treatment has become less effective because of wide-spread antibiotic resistance. This review summarises key features of SBP and points out how diagnosis, treatment and prophylaxis may be improved in the future in order to reduce mortality.