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- Patient Comments: Necrotizing Fasciitis - Cause
- Patient Comments: Necrotizing Fasciitis - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Necrotizing Fasciitis - Signs and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Necrotizing Fasciitis - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Necrotizing Fasciitis - Experience
- Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) facts
- What is necrotizing fasciitis?
- Do different types of necrotizing fasciitis exist?
- What causes necrotizing fasciitis?
- What are necrotizing fasciitis symptoms and signs?
- How is necrotizing fasciitis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for necrotizing fasciitis?
- How is necrotizing fasciitis prevented? Is necrotizing fasciitis contagious?
- Who is at risk to get necrotizing fasciitis?
- What is the prognosis (outcome) for patients with necrotizing fasciitis? What are complications of necrotizing fasciitis?
- What are some additional sources of information on necrotizing fasciitis?
Quick GuideBacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments
What is the treatment for necrotizing fasciitis?
At the time of preliminary diagnosis, the patient needs to be hospitalized and started on intravenous antibiotics immediately. The initial choice of antibiotics can be made based upon the types of flesh-eating bacteria suspected of causing the infection, but many doctors believe that multiple antibiotics should be used at the same time to protect the patient from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as infections with anaerobic bacteria, and polymicrobial infections. Antibiotic susceptibility studies, done in the laboratory after the infecting organism(s) has been isolated from the patient, can help the physician choose the best antibiotics to treat the infected individual.
A surgeon needs to be consulted immediately if necrotizing fasciitis is suspected or preliminarily diagnosed. Debridement of necrotic tissue and collection of tissue samples, needed for culture to identify the infecting organism, are done by a surgeon. The type of surgeon consulted may depend on the area of the body affected; for example, a urologic surgeon would be consulted for Fournier's gangrene. As is the case for immediate antimicrobial therapy, early surgical treatment of most cases of necrotizing fasciitis can reduce morbidity and mortality.
Many patients with necrotizing fasciitis are very sick and most require admission to an intensive-care unit. Sepsis and organ failure (renal, pulmonary, and cardiovascular systems) need to be treated aggressively to increase the patient's chance for recovery. Treatments such as insertion of a breathing tube, intravenous administration of fluids, and drugs to support the cardiovascular system may be required. Although not available in many hospitals, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (oxygen given under pressure with the patient in a specialized chamber) is sometimes used in treatment as the oxygen can inhibit or stop anaerobic bacterial growth and promote tissue recovery. This therapy does not replace antibiotics or surgical treatment. However, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown by researchers to further reduce morbidity and mortality by about 10%-20% in some patients when used in conjunction with antibiotics and surgery.