Health-Related Quality of Life Is Decreased After Necrotizing Soft-Tissue Infections

Jaco Suijker, Annebeth de Vries, Vincent M. de Jong, Tim Schepers, Kees J. Ponsen, Jens A. Halm

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Background: A necrotizing soft-tissue infection (NSTI) is a rare but severe infection with a high mortality rate of 12%-20%. Diagnosing is challenging and often delayed. Treatment consists of surgical debridement of all necrotic tissue and administration of antibiotics. Despite adequate treatment, survivors are often left with extensive wounds, resulting in mutilating scars and functional deficits. Both the disease and the subsequent scars can negatively influence the health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The present study was performed to contribute to the knowledge about HRQoL in patients after NSTI. Methods: We retrospectively identified patients treated for NSTI in a tertiary center in the Netherlands. Patient and treatment characteristics were collected and patients were asked to fill in a Short Form 36 questionnaire. Results: Forty-six patients with a diagnosis of NSTI were identified. Twenty-eight (61%) were male and mean age was 57 y. Thirty-nine patients (80%) survived. Thirty-one (84%) of the survivors returned the questionnaire after a median follow-up of 4.1 y (interquartile range [IQR], 2.4-5.9 y). Statistically significantly decreased scores when compared to the Dutch reference values were observed for the Short Form 36 domains, physical functioning, role-physical functioning, general health, and the combined Physical Component Score. No differences were observed for the other five domains or for the Mental Component Score. Conclusions: This study confirms that NSTI negatively affects HRQoL as reported by the patient, especially on the physical domains. To learn more about HRQoL in patients after NSTI, studies in larger groups with a more disease-specific questionnaire should be performed. Level of Evidence: Level 3, prognostic and epidemiological.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-522
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

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