RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Group A streptococcal necrotizing fasciitis in the emergency department.

BACKGROUND: Group A Streptococcal (GAS) necrotizing fasciitis is a critical emergency. Patients with necrotizing fasciitis principally present to emergency departments (EDs), but most studies are focused on hospitalized patients.

OBJECTIVE: An ED patient-based retrospective study was conducted to investigate the clinical characteristics, associated factors, and outcomes of GAS necrotizing fasciitis in the ED.

METHODS: Patients visiting the ED from January 2005 through December 2011 with the diagnosis of GAS necrotizing fasciitis were enrolled. All patients with the diagnosis of noninvasive skin and soft-tissue infections caused by GAS were included as the control group.

RESULTS: During the study period, 75 patients with GAS necrotizing fasciitis were identified. Males accounted for 84% of patients. The most prevalent underlying disease was diabetes mellitus (45.3%). Bullae were recognized in 37.3% of patients. One third of cases were complicated by bacteremia. Polymicrobial infections were found in 30.7% of patients. Overall mortality rate for GAS necrotizing fasciitis was 16%. Patients aged >60 years with diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, and gout were considerably more likely to have GAS necrotizing fasciitis than noninvasive infections. Patients presenting with bacteremia, shock, duration of symptoms/signs <5 days, low white blood cell count, low platelet count, and prolonged prothrombin time were associated with increased mortality. Surgery is a significantly negative factor for mortality of patients with GAS necrotizing fasciitis (odds ratio = 0.16; 95% confidence interval 0.002-0.16; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: A better understanding of the associated factors and initiation of adequate treatments will allow for improved survival after GAS necrotizing fasciitis.

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