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Surgery. 1995 Oct;118(4):592-7; discussion 597-8.

Malignancy, mortality, and medicosurgical management of Clostridium septicum infection.

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Department of Surgery, Hennepin County Medical Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55415, USA.



Necrotizing Clostridium septicum infections (CSI) have a strong association with malignancy or immunosuppression. To clarify this relationship and determine how it impacted mortality, the experience with CSI at a single institution was reviewed.


Records of all patients admitted to our hospital with culture proven clostridial infection from 1966 through 1993 were reviewed.


Among patients presenting with clinical gas gangrene, 281 had culture proven clostridial infection and 32 (11.4%) had CSI. The mortality among CSI patients was 56%, whereas 26% of all patients with clostridial infections died (p = 0.001). An associated malignancy was found in 50% of patients with CSI, whereas this was seen in only 11% of patients with other clostridial infections (p = 0.0001 for CSI versus clostridial infection overall). The remaining patients with spontaneous CSI all had evidence of immunosuppression.


The high mortality and likelihood of associated malignancy or hematologic disease underscore the importance of a high index of suspicion and the need to search for and treat associated conditions in all patients with CSI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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