JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Necrotizing fasciitis in childhood.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare entity in the pediatric population. Five cases of this soft tissue infection were treated at the authors' institution between January and December 1993. Three of the children were profoundly neutropenic secondary to chemotherapy. All five were treated with aggressive surgical debridement, frequent dressing changes, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and nutritional support. In addition, the patients with neutropenia received a combination of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor and granulocyte transfusions. One child died of overwhelming sepsis and bone marrow graft failure. The others eventually made a complete recovery. Necrotizing fasciitis may be becoming a more common problem in children. Aggressive chemotherapeutic regimens and more frequent use of bone marrow transplantation could be a factor in this. Early diagnosis and aggressive surgical therapy is critical. However, mortality may be significant, especially in patients with neutropenia. Leukocyte response to the infection may be a prognostic marker. Pseudomonas and enteric gram-negative organisms are seen frequently in immunocompromised children with necrotizing fasciitis. Antimicrobial selection should supply adequate coverage of these organisms.

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