Background: Ascitic fluid infection (AFI) in cirrhotic patients has a high morbidity and mortality. It has two variants namely, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) and culture negative neutrocytic ascites (CNNA). The aim of this study was to determine the outcome in cirrhotic patients with culture positive (SBP) and culture negative neutrocytic ascites. Methods: We analyzed 675 consecutive hepatitis B and/or C related cirrhosis patients with ascites admitted in our hospital from November 2005 to December 2007. Of these, 187 patients had AFI; clinical and laboratory parameters of these patients including causes of cirrhosis, Child Turcotte Pugh (CTP) score were recorded. Results: Out of 187 patients with AFI, 44 (23.5%) had SBP while 143 (76.4%) had CNNA. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was the most common cause of cirrhosis in 139 (74.3%) patients. Patients with SBP had high CTP score as compared to CNNA (12.52 ± 1.45 vs. 11.44 ± 1.66); p < 0.001. Platelets count was low in patients with SBP (101 ± 53 × 109/L) as compared to CNNA (132 ± 91 × 109/L), p = 0.005. We found a high creatinine (mg/ dl) (1.95 ± 1.0 vs. 1.44 ± 0.85), (p = 0.003) and high prothrombin time (PT) in seconds (24.8 ± 6.6 vs. 22.4 ± 7.2) (p = 0.04) in SBP as compared to CNNA. More patients with SBP (14/ 44; 31.8%) had blood culture positivity as compare to CNNA (14/143; 9.8%), p = 0.002. Escherichia. Coli was the commonest organism in blood culture in 15/28 (53.5%) patients. SBP group had a higher mortality (11/ 44; 25%) as compared to CNNA (12/143; 8.4%), p = 0.003. On multiple logistic regression analysis, creatinine >1.1 mg/dl and positive blood culture were the independent predictors of mortality in patients with SBP. Conclusion: Patients with SBP have a higher mortality than CNNA. Independent predictors of mortality in SBP are raised serum creatinine and a positive blood culture.