Epidemiology and Outcomes of Hospitalized Children With Necrotizing Soft-Tissue Infections

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the epidemiology and outcome of hospitalized children with a diagnosis of necrotizing soft-tissue infections (NSTIs).


Demographic and outcome data of children 1 month to 18 years of age with a diagnosis of NSTI (International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision diagnosis codes 728.86 and 729.4) were extracted from the Kids’ Inpatient Database 2009 and 2012. Univariate and multivariate analyses were done to determine the factors affecting mortality. The sample data were weighted to get national estimates.


A total of 446 children with NSTI (prevalence of 1.12/10,000 discharges) were included. Males comprised 54%. The median age was 10 (interquartile range 4–16) years. The mortality rate was 6%. In addition, 29.3% of children with NSTI were discharged to either skilled nursing facilities or to home health care compared with 4.5% of children without NSTI (odds ratio 8.9; 95% confidence interval 7.3–10.9; P < 0001). A bacterial infection was reported in 72.1% of children. An infection with Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Gram-negative bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus areus and polymicrobia was present in 34.5%, 21.8%, 8.6%, 3.9%, 18.7% and 13.6% of cases, respectively. A compartment syndrome, severe sepsis/septic shock and toxic shock were documented in 4.4%, 22.2% and 3.2% of the cases, respectively. Severe sepsis/septic shock, the need for mechanical ventilation and Hispanic race were associated with increased mortality, whereas skin/muscle surgery was associated with lower mortality.


NSTI in children is associated with high morbidity. The mortality is higher with the presence of severe sepsis/septic shock and among Hispanics and lower with surgical intervention.

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