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The aims of this study were to compare laboratory indices of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) and noninfected ascites in children with chronic liver disease and to determine the infectious agents involved in SBP.The medical records of 90 children with chronic liver disease and ascites studied between January 2005 and August 2011 were reviewed for laboratory data of diagnostic significance in SBP. Standard laboratory tests included blood cell count, coagulation indices, liver and renal function tests, C-reactive protein (CRP), serum sodium concentration, serum albumin, and serum cultures. Ascitic fluid obtained from 152 paracentesis procedures was assayed for cytology, Gram stains, neutrophil counts, and bacteriological cultures.The SBP group manifested significantly lower albumin levels and elevated CRP levels, prothrombin times, international normalized ratios, and leukocyte number (P < 0.05 in each case). CRP was shown to be an independent variable in the prediction of SBP. Values of serum creatinine, sodium concentration, urea, total bilirubin and differential leukocyte shift were comparable in SBP and noninfected ascites. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most prevalent infectious agent in the ascitic fluid (44%).CRP may be useful in early detection and monitoring of SBP in children with liver disease.