Negative Pressure Wound Therapy in the Adjunctive Management of Necrotizing Fascitis: Examining Clinical Outcomes

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Prompt diagnosis and treatment of necrotizing fascitis reduces the morbidity and mortality rates of this devastating disease. To examine the clinical outcomes of using negative pressure wound therapy in the adjunctive management of wounds secondary to necrotizing fascitis, a retrospective review of medical records was conducted. Participants included 11 consecutive patients (16 wounds) with a diagnosis of necrotizing fascitis admitted to a teaching hospital between 2000 and 2005 and treated on an inpatient basis with negative pressure wound therapy. The patients included seven men, four women (average age 54 years; range 18 to 82 years). Variables abstracted from the medical records and consultation notes included: demographic information, tissue and blood bacteriological data, wound history, wound healing outcomes, duration of negative pressure wound therapy, length of hospital stay, and mortality and morbidity information. Variables were entered into an electronic database and analyzed. Operative tissue biopsies were obtained and all participants received serial surgical debridements as well as infection, nutrition, and hemodynamic support. Negative pressure wound therapy was applied to the wound(s) at 125 mm Hg continuous negative pressure until reconstructive closure could be performed. Most wounds (10) were on lower extremities, seven patients presented with sepsis, and beta-hemolytic Streptococcus was identified in nine wounds. Mean number of negative pressure wound therapy treatment days was 25 (range: 7 to 74), mean length of stay was 67 days (range: 21 to 186). All wounds were successfully closed ĝ€" 73% received split-thickness skin grafts, 27% required flaps, 100% limb salvage was achieved, and all patients survived. No negative pressure wound therapy or dressing-associated complications were observed. Negative pressure wound therapy was found to be a viable adjunctive treatment in the management of wounds associated with necrotizing fascitis.