Physiology, not modern operative approach, predicts mortality in extremity necrotizing soft tissue infections at a high-volume center

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Abstract

Background:

Multiple factors are associated with mortality in necrotizing soft tissue infection, such as organ dysfunction and underlying medical comorbidities, but are not often modifiable. Operative interventions are an attractive modifiable variable in modern management of extremity necrotizing soft tissue infection, but the influence of amputation and advanced wound management techniques on mortality is unknown.

Methods:

A single-institution review was performed of extremity necrotizing soft tissue infection. Admission demographics, organ dysfunction, and operative interventions were investigated. The primary outcome was mortality. Advanced wound management techniques were considered flap creation or use of a dermal matrix substitute for coverage of neurovascular structures, tendon, or bone.

Results:

Overall, 124 patients with extremity necrotizing soft tissue infection were included, with 112 of 124 (90.3%) patients living and 12 of 124 (9.7%) patients dying. Patients who lived had a lower Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (1.00 [interquartile range, 5] vs 10.50 [interquartile range, 11], P < .001), but no difference in use of amputation (11.6% vs 25.0%, P = .19) or advanced wound management techniques (12.5% vs 0%, P = 0.36), respectively. Indications for amputation in the 16 patients who underwent amputation included nonsalvageable limb in 13 of 16 (81.3%), medical comorbidity in 2 of 16 (12.5%), and a nonsalvageable limb and medical comorbidity in 1 of 16 (6.3%) patients. In multivariate analysis, only the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score remained associated with mortality (odds ratio 1.315, 95% confidence interval 1.146-1.509, P < .001)

Conclusion:

Use of amputation or advanced wound management techniques was not associated with mortality in patients with extremity necrotizing soft tissue infection. At centers able to provide the critical care support, aggressive use of limb salvage may not affect mortality.

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