Peritoneal cavity
The peritoneal cavity is a potential space between the parietal peritoneum
The peritoneum is the serous membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity or the coelom — it covers most of the intra-abdominal organs — in amniotes and some invertebrates...

 and visceral peritoneum, that is, the two membranes that separate the organs in the abdominal cavity
Abdominal cavity
The abdominal cavity is the body cavity of the human body that holds the bulk of the viscera. It is located below the thoracic cavity, and above the pelvic cavity. Its dome-shaped roof is the thoracic diaphragm , and its oblique floor is the pelvic inlet...

 from the abdominal wall. It is one of the spaces derived from the coelomic cavity of the embryo, the others being the pleural cavities
Pleural cavity
In human anatomy, the pleural cavity is the potential space between the two pleura of the lungs. The pleura is a serous membrane which folds back onto itself to form a two-layered, membrane structure. The thin space between the two pleural layers is known as the pleural cavity; it normally...

 around the lungs and the pericardial cavity
Pericardial cavity
The pericardial cavity is a potential space between the parietal pericardium and visceral layer. It contains a supply of serous fluid. The serous fluid that is found in this space is known as the pericardial fluid....

 around the heart.

The peritoneal cavity is the largest serosal sac 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

It is a common injection site, used in intraperitoneal injection
Intraperitoneal injection
Intraperitoneal injection or IP injection is the injection of a substance into the peritoneum . IP injection is more often applied to animals than humans...


An increase in the capillary pressure in the abdominal viscera can cause fluid to leave the interstital space and enter the peritoneal cavity, a condition called ascites
Ascites is a gastroenterological term for an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.The medical condition is also known as peritoneal cavity fluid, peritoneal fluid excess, hydroperitoneum or more archaically as abdominal dropsy. Although most commonly due to cirrhosis and severe liver...

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