Patient’s characteristics and outcomes in necrotising soft-tissue infections: results from a Scandinavian, multicentre, prospective cohort study

Martin Bruun Madsen*, Steinar Skrede, Anders Perner, Per Arnell, Michael Nekludov, Trond Bruun, Ylva Karlsson, Marco Bo Hansen, Peter Polzik, Morten Hedetoft, Anders Rosén, Edoardo Saccenti, François Bergey, Vitor A.P. Martins Dos Santos, Anna Norrby-teglund, Ole Hyldegaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Necrotising soft-tissue infections (NSTI) are characterised by necrosis, fast progression, and high rates of morbidity and mortality, but our knowledge is primarily derived from small prospective studies and retrospective studies. Methods: We performed an international, multicentre, prospective cohort study of adults with NSTI describing patient’s characteristics and associations between baseline variables and microbiological findings, amputation, and 90-day mortality. Results: We included 409 patients with NSTI; 402 were admitted to the ICU. Cardiovascular disease [169 patients (41%)] and diabetes [98 (24%)] were the most common comorbidities; 122 patients (30%) had no comorbidity. Before surgery, bruising of the skin [210 patients (51%)] and pain requiring opioids [172 (42%)] were common. The sites most commonly affected were the abdomen/ano-genital area [140 patients (34%)] and lower extremities [126 (31%)]. Monomicrobial infection was seen in 179 patients (44%). NSTI of the upper or lower extremities was associated with monomicrobial group A streptococcus (GAS) infection, and NSTI located to the abdomen/ano-genital area was associated with polymicrobial infection. Septic shock [202 patients (50%)] and acute kidney injury [82 (20%)] were common. Amputation occurred in 22% of patients with NSTI of an extremity and was associated with higher lactate level. All-cause 90-day mortality was 18% (95% CI 14–22); age and higher lactate levels were associated with increased mortality and GAS aetiology with decreased mortality. Conclusions: Patients with NSTI were heterogeneous regarding co-morbidities, initial symptoms, infectious localisation, and microbiological findings. Higher age and lactate levels were associated with increased mortality, and GAS infection with decreased mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1251
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Critical care
  • Fournier’s gangrene
  • Group A streptococcus
  • Necrotising fasciitis
  • Sepsis


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