Fournier’s gangrene: a modern analysis of predictors of outcomes

Jeffrey D. Sparenborg, Jacob A. Brems, Andrew M. Wood, Jonathan J. Hwang, Krishnan Venkatesan


Background: Fournier’s gangrene (FG) is a rapidly progressing necrotizing fasciitis that carries a significant morbidity and mortality. The present study sought to identify the predisposing factors related to FG and validate the Fournier’s Gangrene Severity Index (FGSI) score as a prognostic tool in the care of the Fournier’s patient.
Methods: Medstar Washington Hospital Center records were searched from January 2003 to February 2015 for all patients with a diagnosis code of FG, n=42. Epidemiologic data was collected for patients and used to calculate an FGSI score.
Results: The average age was 53.45 yrs and M/F ratio was 39:1. Patients presented with an average 2.675 predisposing factors; the most common was diabetes mellitus (n=21) followed by hypertension (n=18). The most common etiology was periscrotal (n=25) next to perirectal (n=9). Streptococcus was the most common source of infection (n=14). Patients on average required three surgical interventions. The average and median hospitalization period was 19.625 and 11.5 days respectively. Eleven patients developed sepsis. Twenty-four (60%) patients experienced a complication. The overall mortality was 5% (n=2). The average FGSI on admission was 5.368. Multivariate analysis showed FGSI score correlates with more surgical intervention, longer hospitalization, sepsis, complication and mortality.
Conclusions: The FGSI score predicts a greater likelihood of more surgical interventions, longer hospitalization period, sepsis, complications and mortality within this patient population. Diabetes mellitus continues to be the most common predisposing factors in FG patients. The mortality rate of 5% is much less than the historically reported 20–30% and may reflect improved understanding and care of this aggressive disease.