Peritoneal cavity

The peritoneal cavity is a true space between the parietal peritoneum (the peritoneum that surrounds the abdominal wall) and visceral peritoneum (the peritoneum that surrounds the internal organs).[1][2] Both the parietal and visceral peritonea are not different but the same peritoneum given two names depending on their function/location. It is one of the spaces derived from the coelomic cavity of the embryo, the others being the pleural cavities around the lungs and the pericardial cavity around the heart.

Peritoneal cavity
Precursorintraembryonic coelom
LatinCavitas peritonealis,
saccus serosus peritonei
Anatomical terminology

It is the largest serosal sac, and the largest fluid-filled cavity,[3] in the body and secretes approximately 50 mL of fluid per day. This fluid acts as a lubricant and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Clinical significance

The peritoneal cavity is a common injection site, used in intraperitoneal injection.

An increase in the capillary pressure in the abdominal viscera can cause fluid to leave the interstitial space and enter the peritoneal cavity, a condition called ascites.

In cases where cerebrospinal fluid builds up, such as in hydrocephalus, the fluid is commonly diverted to the peritoneal cavity by use of a shunt placed by surgery.[4]

Body fluid sampling from the peritoneal cavity is called peritoneocentesis.

The peritoneal cavity is involved in peritoneal dialysis.

See also


  1. "peritoneal cavity" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. Tank, P. (2013) Grants Dissector 15th ed., ch.4 The abdomen, p.99
  3. "Researchers Examine Role of Fluid Flow in Ovarian Cancer Progression" (Press release). Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 22 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018 via Drug Discovery & Development.
  4. Adzick, Scott; Thom, Spong; Brock, Burrows; et al. (17 March 2011). "A Randomized Trial of Prenatal versus Postnatal Repair of Myelomeningocele". The New England Journal of Medicine. 364 (11): 993–1004. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1014379. PMC 3770179. PMID 21306277.
  • peritoneum at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
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