"Flesh-Eating Disease"

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Necrotizing faciitis

Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare and sometimes fatal illness that causes extensive soft tissue destruction by spreading along the layers of tissue that surround muscle (the fascia). There are two varieties of the disease. One is a fast-growing necrotizing faciiitis. Symptoms include fever, severe pain, and a red, painful swelling which spreads rapidly. Death can occur in 12 to 24 hours. The other variety is a slowly progressive necrotizing faciitis where the bacterium eats away the skin over a longer period of time.

The disease can be caused by a number of different bacteria, one of them being the group A streptococcus. It’s a common bacterium that causes infections, such as sore or strep throat, in children and young adults. It can affect any part of the body, but most commonly involves the extremities, especially the legs.

Treatment for necrotizing fasciitis usually involves surgically removing infected tissue — including amputation if necessary — and prescribing antibiotics along with adjunct hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works to decrease morbidity and mortality rates by hyper-oxygenating the tissues to induce healing. It helps promote the white blood cells’ ability to kill oxygen-avoiding bacteria (anaerobe) or oxygen-using bacteria (aerobic).

Case Study

Necrotizing Fasciitis - Left Lateral Leg Wound

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