Necrotizing Surgical Infection and Necrotizing Fasciitis in Obstetric and Gynecologic Patients

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Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a rapidly progressive disease characterized by extensive necrosis of the skin, fascia, and subcutaneous tissue, with sparing of the underlying muscle. Diabetes mellitus, Bartholin’s gland abscess, and recent surgical procedures (including episiotomy) are factors often found in obstetric and gynecologic patients. Mortality in this group of patients is higher than in the general surgical population. Death is usually due to overwhelming sepsis, renal and respiratory failure, and multiple organ failure. The infections are usually polymicrobial, with α-hemolytic streptococci, gram-negative coliforms, and anaerobic bacteria. Lower survival has been reported in large series when the groin is involved or when the general nutritional state is poor. From October 1988 to August 1990, we treated five patients with necrotizing fasciitis. Certain important characteristics of such patients have not been discussed in the obstetric and gynecologic literature. Nutritional status, with special emphasis on total protein, albumin, and the effects of alcoholism, has a significant impact on mortality. Nutritional support of these patients may improve survival. To limit the impact of secondary infections, surgical approaches should be modified by the anatomic location of the initial lesions. More frequent debriding in the operating room and early fecal diversion are recommended.

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