Back to Journals » International Journal of General Medicine » Volume 8

Necrotizing fasciitis: epidemiology and clinical predictors for amputation

Authors Khamnuan P, Chongruksut W, Jearwattanakanok K, Patumanond J, Tantraworasin A

Received 17 February 2015

Accepted for publication 17 March 2015

Published 14 May 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 195—202


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Patcharin Khamnuan,1,2 Wilaiwan Chongruksut,3 Kijja Jearwattanakanok,4 Jayanton Patumanond,5 Apichat Tantraworasin3

1Clinical Epidemiology Program, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, 2Department of Nursing, Phayao Hospital, Phayao, 3Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, 4Department of Surgery, Nakornping Hospital, Chiang Mai, 5Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Clinical Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Thammasat University, Pathum Thani, Thailand

Background: Necrotizing fasciitis, a relatively uncommon infection involving the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and fascia, is a rapidly progressive soft tissue infection and a medical and surgical urgency. Delayed debridement, with subsequent huge soft tissue loss is associated with loss of limb and infection and is the most common cause of mortality. The purpose of this work is to describe the epidemiology of necrotizing fasciitis and to identify the clinical characteristics that may be used to predict amputation in routine clinical practice.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study data were collected from three general hospitals located in the Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, and Phayao provinces in northern Thailand. Epidemiologic data for all patients with a surgically confirmed diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis between 2009 and 2012 were collected. Medical records and reviews were retrieved from inpatient records, laboratory reports, and registers. Clinical predictors for amputation were analyzed by multivariable risk regression.
Results: A total of 1,507 patients with a diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis were classified as being with amputation (n=127, 8.4%) and without amputation (n=1,380, 91.6%). The most common causative Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens were Streptococcus pyogenes (33.3% in the amputation group and 40.8% in the non-amputation group) and Escherichia coli (25% in the amputation group and 17.1% in the non-amputation group). Predictive factors for amputation included gangrene (risk ratio [RR] 4.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.70–8.44), diabetes mellitus (RR 3.08, 95% CI 1.98–4.78), skin necrosis (RR 2.83, 95% CI 2.52–3.18), soft tissue swelling (RR 1.76, 95% CI 1.24–2.49), and serum creatinine values ≥1.6 mg/dL on admission (RR 1.71, 95% CI 1.38–2.12). All data were analyzed using the multivariable risk regression generalized linear model.
Conclusion: The most causative pathogens were S. pyogenes and E. coli. Clinical predictors for amputation in patients with necrotizing fasciitis included having diabetes mellitus, soft tissue swelling, skin necrosis, gangrene, and serum creatinine values ≥1.6 mg/dL on admission. Thus, patients with any of these predictors should be monitored closely for progression and receive early aggressive treatment to avoid limb loss.

Keywords: necrotizing fasciitis, clinical predictors, amputation

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]