Aims: Necrotising fasciitis is a rare but serious soft tissue infection with high morbidity and mortality. We wished to review our 5 year experience with this condition 1989-94. In addition, in light of recent interest in the association between necrotising fasciitis and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, we wished to determine the incidence of NSAID use in our necrotising fasciitis patients.
Methods: A review of all Dunedin Hospital cases of necrotising fasciitis between January 1989-June 1994 was undertaken. Subsequently all specialists involved in treating the patients audited the notes, particularly regarding clinical presentation, complications, treatment, outcome and concomitant use of NSAIDs was also recorded.
Results: There have been seven patients (4 males) with a mortality rate of 43%. Survival was associated with early diagnosis, rapid and intensive medical and surgical intervention, and possibly the early use of haemofiltration. Five of the seven patients had ingested nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID) prior to their presentation which may have potentiated the severity of the endotoxic shock.
Conclusion: Necrotising fasciitis remains a potentially lethal disease but early management and aggressive treatment improves outcome. A high index of suspicion, avoidance of NSAIDs, and aggressive multidisciplinary team management of these patients offers the best chance of survival in necrotising fasciitis.