Necrotizing fasciitis is defined as a rapidly progressive infection of the skin and soft tissue that usually involves severe systemic toxicity. The incidence of this infection has increased in the last few decades and is estimated to affect one out of every 100,000 inhabitants in western European countries. This disease is the most serious form of skin and soft tissue infection, due to rapid destruction and necrosis of the fascia and subcutaneous fat, and the development of shock and multiorgan failure in about one third of patients.
Although there are several predisposing factors for the development of the disease, especially for type I, or polymicrobial, necrotizing fasciitis, many patients are young and have no underlying chronic diseases, as is the case for type II, or streptococcal, necrotizing fasciitis. The diagnosis is mainly clinical, and urgent surgical consultation is required as soon as possible once suspicion is high, as the main determinant of mortality is the delay in surgical treatment. Overall mortality remains high, affecting more than 25% of patients. Surgical debridement is the mainstay of treatment, along with hemodynamic support and broad-spectrum antibiotics.
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