Background: The purpose of this study was to review key differences between necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTI) and Fournier’s Gangrene (FG) in demographics, comorbidities, laboratory findings, cost, and clinical course.
Methods: The burn registry of a Level 1 trauma and burn center in Lubbock, Texas was used to identify and retrospectively review medical records of patients with NSTIs and FG from 2003 to 2012. Bivariate analysis on the FG subgroup was performed and compared to all other NSTI using Fisher’s exact test for proportions and Student’s t-test to compare continuous variables with equal variance assumed. A p<0.05 was considered to be significant.
Results: We found that 133 patients met inclusion criteria. Analysis of data revealed that FG had longer length of hospital stay (p=0.02) and an increased number of operations performed (p=0.01) than other NSTIs. There was also a higher association with diabetes in FG (p=0.03) and polymicrobial infections (p=0.01). Intravenous drug abuse was found to be more associated with NSTIs compared to FG (p=0.03).
Conclusion: Our study showed that FG patients have longer length of hospital stay, lower hemoglobin levels, and increased number of operations. NSTIs were more likely to be associated with intravenous drug abuse. There is no difference in rates of mortality between the two groups.
Keywords: NSTI, Necrotizing fasciitis, fasciitis, fournier’s gangrene, clinical comparison, soft tissue infections, cost, treatment differences, polymicrobial, intravenous drug use, diabetes, obesity, surgical excision, debridement, length of stay