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Fournier’s Gangrene: Risk Assessment and Enzymatic Debridement with Lyophilized Collagenase Application

Aşcı R. · Sarıkaya Ş. · Büyükalpelli R. · Yilmaz A.F. · Yildiz S.
Department of Urology, School of Medicine, Ondokuz Mayıs University, Samsun, Turkey Eur Urol 1998;34:411–418 (DOI:10.1159/000019775)


Objectives: Fournier’s gangrene (FG) is an abrupt, rapidly progressive, gangrenous infection of the external genitalia, perineum or abdominal wall and is a real urologic emergency. In this study, the risk factors of FG and the effects of enzymatic debridements on wound healing were investigated. Patients and Methods: We reviewed the records of 34 patients with FG to investigate the possible correlation between clinical outcome and infection focus, patient age, number of types of bacteria cultured, delay until presentation, predisposing diseases or accompanying conditions such as diabetes, neurologic deficit, chronic alcoholism and renal failure. Broad-spectrum triple antimicrobial therapy, aggressive and frequent surgical debridement, and if necessary urinary and colonic diversions were performed to control the infection. The effects of enzymatic debridements with topical lyophilized collagenase applications on the wound healing after the control of active infection were evaluated. Results: The average age of the patients was 55 years. The sources of infections were urogenital in 12 (35.3%), anorectal in 10 (29.4%), dermal in 10 (29.4%) and undetermined in 2 (5.8%) of the patients. The average presentation time was 4.4 days and the number of isolated bacteria was 3.05 per case. The number of isolated bacteria and surgical debridements, the duration of hospital stay and the rate of mortality in patients with anorectal foci were higher than those of the patients with urogenital or dermal foci (p < 0.05). Diabetes, uremia and advanced age did not significantly affect the number of surgical debridements, the duration of hospital stay and control of active infection. Mortality was increased in chronic alcoholism, a finding of undetermined significance. Enzymatic debridements decreased the duration of hospital stay (p < 0.05). Five patients (14.7%) died despite prompt medical and surgical preventive measures. Conclusion: Chronic alcoholism, anorectal infection foci, neurological deficit and delayed presentation were found as risk factors in FG. Diabetes and advanced age did not affect the progression of disease in our cases. Enzymatic debridements decrease the number of surgical debridements and the duration of hospital stay.


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