Evaluation of Antibiotic Duration after Surgical Debridement of Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection

Allison M. Kenneally, Zachary Warriner, Jeremy D. Vanhoose, Dina Ali, Emily J. Mccleary, Dan L. Davenport, Sara E. Parli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Necrotizing soft tissue infection (NSTI) is known to be a medical emergency with high morbidity and mortality. Guidelines do not specify the optimal duration of antibiotic agents after completion of surgical debridements of NSTI, which has created variable practice. It was hypothesized that patients with NSTI who receive 48 hours or less of post-operative antibiotic agents after final debridement have similar rates of subsequent intervention or infection recurrence, suggesting that a shorter duration of antibiotic agents may treat NSTI adequately after final surgical debridement. Patients and Methods: This was a retrospective study including adults with NSTI identified through International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes admitted to one academic institution between January 1, 2010 and July 31, 2020. Demographics, surgical practices, antibiotic practices, and clinical outcomes including inpatient mortality, hospital length of stay (LOS), intensive care unit (ICU) LOS, total antibiotic days, necrotizing infection clinical composite end point (NICCE) success, and infection recurrence were compared based on the duration of antibiotic agents after final debridement. Results: Three hundred twenty-two patients with NSTI were included and baseline characteristics and clinical severity markers were well balanced between the two groups. In 71 patients (22%) who received less than 48 hours of antibiotic agents after final debridement there was no difference in recurrence (1.4% vs. 3.6%; p = 0.697), mortality (1.4% vs. 4.4%; p = 0.476), or ICU LOS (1 vs. 2 days; p = 0.300], but they did have a shorter hospital LOS (7 vs. 10 days; p = 0.011). Conclusions: Shorter duration of antibiotic therapy after final surgical debridement of NSTI may be appropriate in patients without another indication for antibiotic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • antibiotics
  • duration
  • necrotiziing soft tissue infection
  • necrotizing fasciitis
  • outcomes
  • recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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