Author(s): Wang YS, Wong CH, Tay YK
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Necrotizing fasciitis is a severe soft-tissue infection characterized by a fulminant course and high mortality. Early recognition is difficult as the disease is often clinically indistinguishable from cellulitis and other soft-tissue infections early in its evolution. Our aim was to study the manifestations of the cutaneous signs of necrotizing fasciitis as the disease evolves. METHODS: This was a retrospective study on patients with necrotizing fasciitis at a single institution. Their charts were reviewed to document the daily cutaneous changes from the time of presentation (day 0) through to day 4 from presentation. RESULTS: Twenty-two patients were identified. At initial assessment (day 0), almost all patients presented with erythema, tenderness, warm skin, and swelling. Blistering occurred in 41\% of patients at presentation whereas late signs such as skin crepitus, necrosis, and anesthesia were infrequently seen (0-5\%). As time elapsed, more patients had blistering (77\% had blisters at day 4) and eventually the late signs of necrotizing fasciitis characterized by skin crepitus, necrosis, and anesthesia (9-36\%) were seen. A clinical staging system was developed based on our observations. Stage migration from early to late stage necrotizing fasciitis was evident with majority of patients in stage 1 at day 0 (59\%), whereas by day 4, majority had developed into stage 3 (68\%). CONCLUSION: This study has demonstrated the continuum of cutaneous manifestations as necrotizing fasciitis evolves. This will help in the early recognition and intervention of this devastating condition.
This article was published in Int J Dermatol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals