Unusual diseases: necrotic fasciitis
Necrotic fasciitis is an infection that affects the subcutaneous tissue and fascia. (Fascias are membranes of connective tissue covering all organs, vessels covering muscles, tendons.) The disease is very dangerous, and if it is launched, it can even lead to death.
Causes of necrotic fasciitis
The disease is caused by pathogenic bacteria that have come under the skin from the outside: from a wound, cut – or from the inside: along with blood flow. As a result, an infectious process develops right under the skin and tissue destruction occurs. Most often, the legs are affected, as well as the perineum and abdominal wall, but the infection can affect other parts of the body.
Various bacteria can be causative agents, but pyogenic streptococcus Streptococcus pyogenes is especially dangerous. It is he who causes the most severe form of the disease.
The disease is very fast. First, ischemia occurs – the affected area ceases to be supplied with blood. At this point, the tissue dies, and the infection spreads further, capturing new areas and destroying the tissue. Doctors call this pathology “eater of the flesh.”
Of course, a number of conditions are necessary for the development of the disease. The risk factor is primarily reduced immunity, and the risk group includes:
suffering from peripheral vascular disease;
recently undergoing surgery;
past treatment with corticosteroids;
But healthy people can get sick, in this case, necrotic fasciitis develops as a complication:
after surgery, especially on the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract;
wounds and injuries.
Very rarely, the disease occurs for no apparent reason – in healthy people with normal immunity, without injuries with impaired skin integrity.
Symptoms of necrotic fasciitis
The disease begins with fever and slight soreness when pressed on the affected area. Then the skin turns red, swelling appears on it.
Subsequently, the skin becomes bluish in color, it is hot to the touch, and bubbles filled with liquid form on it.
The next stage is loss of sensitivity, necrosis and gangrene – tissue rejection. These are very ominous signs. Bacteria spread through the blood and lymph flow, fascia. General infection of the blood develops – sepsis. The patient has a very high temperature, low blood pressure, confused consciousness.
Treatment of necrotic fasciitis
They treat necrotic fasciitis surgically – dead tissue is excised. The next day, the wound is again opened and checked to see if there are any necrotic sites, if necessary, clean it again. Sometimes it is necessary to open the focus several times until all areas of necrotic tissue are completely removed.
In advanced cases, amputation of the affected limb may be required.
Necrotic fasciitis is an insidious disease. First, it is very difficult to recognize at an early stage: fever and soreness are too common symptoms to immediately suspect this disease. And, secondly, the infectious process is developing simply rapidly.
Mortality from this disease is very high and amounts to 30%. But, fortunately, this infection is quite rare. Nevertheless, basic precautions will not be superfluous.
All wounds, abrasions cuts, especially contaminated, must be carefully treated with disinfectants. If there is redness, swelling, you need to go to the doctor.
Seek medical help if the wound is deep.
Especially cautious should be the elderly and those with risk factors (see above). Their gates for infection can even become a simple scratch or, for example, an anal fissure.