This study aims to investigate the causes and treatment experience of severe abdominal infection after orthotopic liver transplantation. Clinical data were retrospectively analysed in perioperative severe abdominal infection of 186 orthotopic liver transplantation cases from March 2004 to November 2011. Among the 186 patients, 16 cases had severe abdominal infection: five cases had bile duct anastomotic leakage-inducing massive hydrops and infection under liver interstice, 10 cases had extensive bleeding of surgical wound leading to massive haematocele and infection around the liver, and one case had postoperative lower oesophageal fistula leakage causing massive hydrops and infection under the left diaphragm. After definite diagnosis, 12 cases underwent surgery within three days, with no death. Among the four cases that underwent surgery three days after diagnosis, one case died of multiple-organ failure five days after abdominal cavity exploration, which was performed 21 days after liver transplantation. Severe abdominal infections after liver transplantation were the most common causes of death in perioperative liver transplantation. Comprehensive treatment with efficacious antibiotics, multiple-organ support, controlled surgical removal of the lesion, and adequate drainage establishment was the key to the entire treatment.