Introduction Early operative debridement of necrotising fasciitis is a major outcome determinant. Identification and diagnosis of such patients can be clinically difficult. The Laboratory Risk Indicator for Necrotising Fasciitis (LRINEC) score first published in 2004 is based on routinely performed parameters and offers a method for identifying early cases. No literature review has yet been performed on the application of such a score. Methods A systematic review of English-language literature was performed from 2004 to 2014 to identify articles reporting use of LRINEC score and the incidence of necrotising fasciitis. We performed a critical review of PubMed, Medline and Embase in line with the PRISMA statement. A meta-analysis was performed with a random effects model and 95% confidence interval. Suitable correlation coefficient and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were also calculated. Results After application of inclusion criteria, 16 studies with 846 patients were included. The mean LRINEC score in patients with necrotising fasciitis was 6.06. Two papers reported LRINEC score in patients without necrotising fasciitis with a mean 2.45. All six studies with a reported coefficient of variance were < 1; Pearson correlation coefficient was r = 0.637 (P = 0.011). An ROC curve showed an area under the curve of 0.927. Conclusions The LRINEC score is a useful clinical determinant in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of patients with necrotising fasciitis, with a statistically positive correlation between LRINEC score and a true diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis.
Keywords: Cellulitis; LRINEC; Necrotising fasciitis; Score.