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29.10.2019 | Original Scientific Report Open Access

Factors Associated with Mortality and Amputation Caused by Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections of the Upper Extremity: A Retrospective Cohort Study

World Journal of Surgery
Femke Nawijn, Svenna H.W.L. Verhiel, Kiera N. Lunn, Kyle R. Eberlin, Falco Hietbrink, Neal C. Chen
Wichtige Hinweise

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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00268-019-05256-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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It is unclear what the exact short-term outcomes of necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTIs), also known and necrotizing fasciitis of the upper extremity, are and whether these are comparable to other anatomical regions. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess factors associated with mortality within 30-days and amputation in patients with upper extremity NSTIs.


A retrospective study over a 20-year time period of all patients treated for NSTIs of the upper extremity was carried out. The primary outcomes were the 30-day mortality rate and the amputation rate in patients admitted to the hospital for upper extremity NSTIs.


Within 20 years, 122 patients with NSTIs of the upper extremity were identified. Thirteen patients (11%) died and 17 patients (14%) underwent amputation. Independent risk factors for mortality were an American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification of 3 or higher (OR 9.26, 95% CI 1.64–52.31) and a base deficit of 3 meq/L or greater (OR 10.53, 95% CI 1.14–96.98). The independent risk factor for amputation was a NSTI of the non-dominant arm (OR 3.78, 95% CI 1.07–13.35). Length of hospital stay was 15 (IQR 9–21) days.


Upper extremity NSTIs have a relatively low mortality rate, but a relatively high amputation rate compared to studies assessing NSTIs of all anatomical regions. ASA classification and base deficit at admission predict the prognosis of patients with upper extremity NSTIs, while a NSTI of the non-dominant side is a risk factor for limb loss.

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