Fournier's gangrene: risk factors and strategies for management

World J Surg. 2006 Sep;30(9):1750-4. doi: 10.1007/s00268-005-0777-3.


Objective: The prognosis of Fournier's gangrene (FG) depends on early diagnosis and management. In this study, our objective was to identify the distinct features of FG that may influence the clinical outcome.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed in patients with a diagnosis of FG between January 1999 and December 2003. Etiological and predisposing factors, causative microbiological organisms, and clinical outcome were investigated.

Results: Twenty-five men (71%) and 10 women (29%) were included in the study. Mean age was 59.7 +/- 10.7 (range: 43-88) years. As a predisposing factor, diabetes mellitus (DM) was found to be in 46% of patients. All patients were treated by immediate debridement and wide-spectrum antibiotics. More than one bacterium was found in 75% of the patients' tissue cultures, and most frequently E. coli (43%) was identified. Although there were no etiological factors in 25 patients (71%), various etiological factors were found in 10 patients (29%). Multiple debridements were performed in the majority of the cases. The overall mortality rate was 40%. The mortality rates were found to be relatively higher in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM; 50%), with delayed admission to the hospital (45%), and in patients presenting with sepsis at the first admission to the hospital (78%) compared with others. In the logistic regression model, the presence of sepsis was as the only significant independent risk factor for mortality in FG.

Conclusions: Despite the use of contemporary effective antibiotic treatment, aggressive debridements, and state-of-the-art intensive care conditions, FG still has high mortality and morbidity rates. In our series mortality rates were found to be higher in patients with delayed admission to the hospital, those with DM, and those who initially presented with sepsis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Debridement
  • Female
  • Fournier Gangrene / diagnosis
  • Fournier Gangrene / epidemiology
  • Fournier Gangrene / microbiology
  • Fournier Gangrene / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors