Necrotizing Fasciitis ( NF ) is a rare but terrible type of bacterial infection that affects the soft tissue and facia. Because of how quickly the infection spreads it has a high mortality rate and the key to a successful recovery is early diagnosing and intervention. Since the find of this disease, small advancement has been made to diminish the mortality rate, farther stressing the importance of health care suppliers ability to observe and handle the infection early so that the patient will hold a active opportunity. This article will discourse the history, pathophisiology, clinical manifestations, nosologies and interventions, and intercessions as it relates to the Nurse practicians function in caring for a patient with NF.

History and Background

Necrotizing Fasciitis ( NF ) is a rare but quickly come oning inflammatory infection that consequences in the extended devastation of soft tissue and facia. In the earlier phases of the infection musculus and tegument are non affected ( Ruth-Sahd & A ; Gonzalez, 2006 ) . NF involves the superficial facia, hypodermic fat ( which has nervousnesss and vascular constructions ) and deep facia ( Green, Dafoe, & A ; Raffin, 1996 ) . Thrombosis of the microvasculature occurs but there is an absence of myonecrosis ( Giuliano, Lewis, Hadsley, & A ; Blaisdel, 1977 ) . NF was foremost described as a complication of “ erysipelas ” by Hippocrates in the fifth century B.C. ( Descamps, Aithen, & A ; Lee, 1994 ) . During the civil war Confederate ground forces sawbones Joseph Jones described it as hospital sphacelus in which 46 % of the 2,642 soldiers who were infected died from NF complications. The cause of the disease was identified as a bacterial infection in 1915. It was n’t until 1952 that the soft tissue infection was named necrotic Fasciitis by Wilson ( Wilson, 1952 ) . Cases of NF were periodically happening throughout the 19th and twentieth century but remained restricted to military infirmaries during the war with a few eruptions happening in civilian populations.


The centres for Disease control and Prevention ( CDC ) reported that rates of NF increased worldwide from the mid 1980s to early 1990s. Harmonizing to the CDC the additions in the rate and badness of NF are correlated with addition in the prevalence of toxin bring forthing strains of S. Pyogenes ( M-1 and M-3 serotypes ) . The CDC reported about 600 instances of NF in the U.S. in 1999 ( Hu, 2002 ) .

Disease patterned advance

NF develops when bacterium enters the organic structure normally through a minor injury for illustration a laceration, contusion, or bug bite. Some instances occur after surgeries for illustration abdominal surgeries ; the bacteria enters the surgical scratch. The bacterium attacks the soft hypodermic tissue let go ofing toxins that kill the tissue and affect blood flow to the septic country doing it to go mortified. If left untreated the tegument, fat, musculus sheath, and subsequently the musculus become involved. The infection spreads unobserved traveling up the affected organic structure portion at a rate of 3 centimetres per hr up to 1 inch of tissue per hr ( Ruth-Sahd and Gonzales, 2006 ) . Once mortification of the tissue occurs that country has to be surgically removed. The bacterium can besides do the patient to travel into systemic daze, which can take to hypotension, respiratory failure, nephritic failure, and bosom failure. If the infection is terrible decease can happen within 18 hours ( Astorino, Genrich, MacGregor, Victor, Eckhouse, Barbour & A ; Barbour, 2009 )

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Tissue devastation is possible one time the bacteria has been introduced under the tegument via a cut or penetrable lesion. The pathogens begin to quickly multiply distributing from the hypodermic tissue along fascial planes, and so occupying the blood vass and lymphatic system. The bacterium release toxins that lessening the protective tissue factors in order to suppress the immune systems ability to battle the bacterium. In the organic structures attempt to battle the bacterium at the tissue degree. The blood vass in the country Begin to leak due to the effects of the bacteriums in the tissue, the immune response becomes overactive, which consequences in blood vas dilation in order to ease the immune response to the country affected. Unfortunately the cells in the tissue Begin to decease as the blood vass leak and decrease the O supply to the cells due to the addition in permeableness. Since there is a lessening in blood flow and O supply to the tissue from the infection, tissue mortification and ischaemia occur. As tissue mortification worsens, nervus harm takes topographic point, which can be seen, as the patient will describe the lessening or absence of hurting at the country affected. As the infection progresses blood poisoning will besides develop ( Astorino, et Al. 2009 ) .

Causative factors

NF is caused by a bacteria named Streptococcus pyogenes or Group A streptococci ( GAS ) . GAS can be found in people ‘s pharynxs or on their tegument and they will be symptomless. S. pogenes is a cause for “ non-invasive GAS diseases ” for illustration arthritic febrility, strep pharynx, and skin infections like impetigo. When GAS travels to countries of the organic structure where bacterium is n’t found it is called “ invasive GAS disease ” illustration would be blood or lungs. More than 10 million non-invasive GAS instances occur yearly. A rare but most terrible instance of invasive GAS is NF. These bacteria evolve rapidly and scientist believe that GAS makes proteins that cause the immune system to assail the tissue straight therefore the organic structure destroys itself ( Hu, 2002 ) . NF has been classified into two types based upon the bacteria identified upon civilization. Type 1 in a polymicroial infection including both Gram-positive and gram- negative bacteriums that can be anaerobiotic or aerophilic. Type 1 is the most common, doing up 90 % of all the instances, striking abdominal or peritoneal tissue. Underliing hazard factors include postoperative, advanced age, or diabetes ( McGee, 2005 ) . Type 2 besides known as the “ Flesh feeding Bacteria ” is the rarest out of the two doing up approximately 10 % of the instances. It is the most unsafe of the infections normally impacting the weaponries or legs and involves the Group A ( beta ) – haemolytic streptococci with or without staphylococcus aureus. Type 2 does non know apart on age, race, or sex ( Astorino, et Al. 2009 ) .

Signs and Symptoms

Early sensing of NF is important it can be the difference between life and decease. Health attention suppliers need to be knowing about the marks and symptoms of NF so that intervention can be started right off. Initial marks may be obscure and are frequently confused with cellulitis, marks include hurting, hydrops, erythema, and fever. A unequivocal diagnosing can be made by visual image and dissection of the necrotic facia. A cardinal factor of NF is hurting, which is disproportional to the sum of inflammation. If suspected cellulitis fails to react to antibiotics within 24-48 hours NF should be considered ( Varma and Stashower, 2006 ) . Early symptoms including hurting, unease, febrility, and thirst happen within the first 24 hours of invasion of bacteriums. This is the clip NF is normally misdiagnosed because patterned advance of the disease is non seeable until tissue devastation has already stated ( McGee, 2005 ) . Walter ( 2004 ) states that the trademark of NF is erythema that spreads rapidly with a border of inflammation that extends to normal tegument and is non raised. Advance symptoms occur 48-72 hours subsequently and are characterized by important hurting at the lesion site, increasing erythema, hydrops, and heat. The skin tissue so becomes discolored and deteriorates further. The inflammation turns to dusky or blue and bullae ( cysts ) appear. “ These bullae enlarge and so tear leaking out “ dishwater Pus ” a foul smelling, thin dirty grey liquid ” ( Kessenich, 2004 ) ; ( Ruth-Sahd and Gonzales, 2008 ) . 4-5 yearss after visual aspect of the first symptoms patients can get down to show critical symptoms runing from numbness and hypotension to toxic daze and unconsciousness. From there the patient can develop sphacelus, sepsis, and so decease may happen ( McGee, 2005 ) . When the initial symptoms are found it can be hard to distinguish between NF and celluitis therefore it is of import to retrieve the trademark of NF. After 3-5 yearss of oncoming when there is skin dislocation, blister, and cutaneal sphacelus nowadays which are unequivocal marks of NF and the involved country is normally non painful due to the are going anaesthetic secondary to thrombosis of little vass and nervus devastation located in the necrotic hypodermic tissue Mandell, Bennett, and Dolin, 2005 ) .

Lab and Imaging Surveies

Common research lab surveies used in naming NF include complete blood cell count with differential ( CBC ) , Electrolytes, Blood urea N ( BUN ) , Creatinine phoshokinase ( CPK ) , rapid streptococci trial, and a civilization and sensitiveness. CBC may demo an addition in WBC greater than 14,000/ul and the electrolytes may demo a sodium degree less than 135 mmol/L, which are both declarative of NF ( Schwartz, 2006 ) . The BUN may besides be elevated to 15 mg/ml and the CPK may be elevated, bespeaking the presence of tissue dislocation. A C & A ; S with a Gram discoloration can find whether the infection is Type 1 or Type 2, which will assist to find what antibiotics to order. Computed imaging ( CT ) scan and magnetic resonance imagination ( MRI ) can be used to assist name NF. Ct scans can visualise the hypodermic air and happen the anatomic site of engagement by observing mortification with asymmetric fascial thickener ( Maynor, 2006 ) . MRI is helpful with guided rapid debridement of the lesions.


In order to forestall important disfigurement and/or decease in the patient with NF is a speedy diagnosing and really aggressive intervention is needed from the start. Broad spectrum antibiotics that treat Gram-positive and negative aerobes and anaerobes are prescribed around the clock until the specific strain of the bacteriums can be identified and treated suitably. Due to the sum of antibiotics being administered and possible toxicity involved, Kidney and Liver map should be monitored during therapy. The patient will besides necessitate endovenous fluids, hurting direction, and perchance TPN. All necrotic tissue on the patient needs to be debrided with diligence in taking facia, tegument and hypodermic tissue involved every bit early as possible, which may necessitate to be performed multiple times to efficaciously take all necrotic tissue. Hyperbaric therapy may be prescribed as an extra therapy.

Role of the NP

The NP needs to be able to acknowledge the early symptoms of NF so that he or she will be able to get down intervention rapidly. A collaborative multidisciplinary attention attack needs to be used for the attention of this type of patient. The attention squad will necessitate to include Critical/Acute attention, Dietitian, Physical therapy, and Wound attention Nurse. The patient will necessitate a batch of instruction and psychological support every bit good.


Necrotizing Fasciitis is a really aggressive and enfeebling disease that has a really rapid patterned advance. Since the disease is really easy transmitted into the organic structure with the potency of sensing non until ulterior phases due to the similarities to cellulitis. Rapid diagnosing and intervention is indispensable to forestall terrible taking apart and or decease. So this makes the Nurse Practitioner working in ambulatory attention the first line of defence against this quickly enfeebling disease.


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