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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2003 Mar;22(3):151-7. Epub 2003 Mar 5.

Factors associated with complications and mortality in adult patients hospitalized for infectious cellulitis.

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  • 1Infectious Disease Service, Hospital de Bellvitge, University of Barcelona, Feixa Llarga sn, 08907, LHospitalet, Barcelona, Spain.


The aim of this study was to analyze medical outcomes, including risks for complications and mortality, in 332 adult patients hospitalized for cellulitis. The infection was documented microbiologically in 128 cases (39%). Staphylococcus aureus (46 cases) and Streptococcus pyogenes (22 cases) were the most frequent causative pathogens. Overall, 63 patients (19%) were discharged early (< or =4 days) and 166 patients (50%) were hospitalized for more than 4 days without developing any complications. One hundred three patients (31%) had one or more complications or died. Of these, 78 required surgical debridement, 10 required plastic surgery, 7 underwent amputation, and 15 had shock on presentation. When comparing the three study groups (patients discharged early, patients hospitalized for < or =4 days without complications, and patients who developed 1 or more complication or who died), patients who were discharged early (low risk) were more frequently female and were less likely to have multiple comorbid conditions, hypoalbuminemia, renal insufficiency, and/or cutaneous necrosis at presentation. Overall mortality (<30 days) was 5% (16/332 patients). Factors associated with death were male sex, presence of multiple comorbid conditions, congestive heart failure, morbid obesity, hypoalbuminemia, renal insufficiency, shock, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa cellulitis. These findings can be used to stratify patients with acute cellulitis according to risks for complications and mortality and may be helpful when deciding the most appropriate means of care, i.e. outpatient treatment or hospitalization.

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