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Surgical strategies in the management of ecthyma gangrenosum in paediatric oncology patients

B A Khalil, C T Baillie, S E Kenny, G L Lamont, R R Turnock, B L Pizer, H F K van Saene, P D Losty
Pediatric Surgery International 2008, 24 (7): 793-7
Clinical presentation and microbiology profiles of neutropenic paediatric oncology patients presenting with ecthyma gangrenosum (EG) were studied. Surgical strategies deployed for these critically ill children are reported. Between 1994 and 2005, all children with EG were identified. Case notes were reviewed. Hospital course and long-term outcome were documented. Ten patients were identified. Eight had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, one child had acute myeloid leukaemia and another had rhabdomyosarcoma. Lesions occurred in the perineal region (n = 5), buttocks (n = 2), thigh (n = 2) and the face (n = 1). Seven children had positive blood cultures for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Surgery included (1) radical debridement, and (2) debridement with covering colostomy for four of those with perianal lesions. Ecthyma gangrenosum is a rapidly spreading and potentially lethal condition. Paediatric oncology patients with neutropenia are at a high risk. Surgical excision is crucial for progressive lesions to prevent mortality.

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