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Conn Med. 1995 Feb;59(2):67-72.

Severe necrotizing soft-tissue infections: report of 22 cases.

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  • 1Section of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford.


Twenty-two cases of severe necrotizing soft-tissue infections (SNSTIs), seen by the infectious disease service from 1983 to 1988 in a community teaching hospital, are described and compared with previously reported series. Clinical findings were distinguishable from cellulitis at the time of surgery in only 45% of the patients who had either necrosis, crepitus, vesicle or bullae, and/or an abnormal air pattern on x-ray studies. Patients with "cellulitis" were not less sick than patients with "necrosis" findings (ie, presence of shock, leukocytosis with left shift, fever, or anion gap). Despite the fact that all but one of the patients were seen by the infectious disease service preoperatively, and 55% underwent surgical intervention within 48 hours of admission, patient mortality (18%) was not better than some reported in earlier series. However, the epidemiology of SNSTI was different: in our series there were more diabetic patients (64%) and fewer postsurgical infections (14%). Among the diabetic patients, SNSTI developed more frequently at a site not related to peripheral vasculopathy or neuropathy. Abdominal wall involvement was 10 times more likely be diagnosed as cellulitis (5/8 vs 2/14 with involvement elsewhere, P < 0.02).

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