Laboratory indicators for early detection and surgical treatment of vibrio necrotizing fasciitis

Yao Hung Tsai, Robert Wen Wei Hsu, Kuo Chin Huang, Tsung Jen Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis is a rare and life-threatening soft tissue infection, with fulminant clinical courses and high mortality rates. However, the lack of specific disease characteristics and diagnostic tools during the initial examination may delay diagnosis. Questions/purposes: We (1) asked whether the clinical indicators could predict laboratory findings during the initial stage of Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis and (2) determined the relationships between the laboratory risk indicator for necrotizing fasciitis (LRINEC) score and the diagnosis of Vibrio infection. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 70 patients with 71 episodes of Vibrio necrotizing fasciitis and sepsis. Of the 70 patients, 68 had a history of contact with seawater or raw seafood; 66 had underlying chronic diseases. Results: Eighteen patients (25.7%) died a mean 18.7 days after admission, and 52 patients survived. A systolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or less at the time of admission to the emergency room was associated with mortality. Patients who died had lower leukocyte counts, segmented leukocyte counts, platelet counts, and serum albumin levels compared with the patients who survived and higher counts of band forms of leukocytes. Only eight patients (11%) who survived had a LRINEC score of 6 or greater. Conclusions: The LRINEC scoring system is not applicable when treating such a highly lethal disease. We propose that severe hypoalbuminemia, severe thrombocytopenia, and increased banded forms of leukocytes are laboratory risk indicators of necrotizing fasciitis that aid in pointing toward initiation of early surgery and predict a higher risk of death. Level of Evidence: Level III Prognostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for complete descriptions of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2230-2237
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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