Predicting necrotising soft tissue infections in people who inject drugs: poor performance of the Laboratory Risk Indicator for Necrotising Fasciitis score and development of a novel clinical predictive nomogram in a retrospective cohort with internal validation

Caitlin S. MacLeod, Hannah L. O'Neill, Ramy Shaalan, John Nagy, Murray M. Flett, Graeme J. K. Guthrie, Graeme McLeod, Stuart A. Suttie,

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Necrotising soft tissue infections (NSTI) can threaten life and limb. Early identification and urgent surgical debridement are key for improved outcomes. NSTI can be insidious. Scoring systems, like the Laboratory Risk Indicator for Necrotising Fasciitis (LRINEC), exist to aid diagnosis. People who inject drugs (PWID) are high risk for NSTI. This study aimed to assess the utility of the LRINEC in PWID with lower limb infections and develop a predictive nomogram. METHODS: A retrospective database of all hospital admissions due to limb-related complications secondary to injecting drug use between December 2011 and December 2020 was compiled through discharge codes and a prospectively maintained Vascular Surgery database. All lower limb infections were extracted from this database, dichotomised by NSTI and non-NSTI with the LRINEC applied. Specialty management times were evaluated. Statistical analyses involved: chi-square; Analysis of "variance"; Kaplan-Meier, and receiver operating characteristic curves. Nomograms were developed to facilitate diagnosis and predict survival. RESULTS: There were 557 admissions for 378 patients, with 124 (22.3%; 111 patients) NSTI. Time from admission to: theatre and computed tomography imaging respectively varied significantly between specialties ( P =0.001). Surgical specialties were faster than medical ( P =0.001). Vascular surgery received the most admissions and had the quickest time to theatre. During follow-up there were 79 (20.9%) deaths: 27 (24.3%) NSTI and 52 (19.5%) non-NSTI. LRINEC ≥6 had a positive predictive value of 33.3% and sensitivity of 74% for NSTI. LRINEC <6 had a negative predictive value of 90.7% and specificity of 63.2% for non-NSTI. Area under the curve was 0.697 (95% CI: 0.615-0.778). Nomogram models found age, C-reactive protein, and non-linear albumin to be significant predictors of NSTI, with age, white cell count, sodium, creatinine, C-reactive protein, and albumin being significant in predicting survival on discharge. CONCLUSION: There was reduced performance of the LRINEC in this PWID cohort. Diagnosis may be enhanced through use of this predictive nomogram.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1561-1572
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
Volume109
Issue number6
Early online date12 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Necrotising fasciitis
  • People who inject drugs (PWID)
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Injecting drug use
  • Substance use
  • ; Laboratory Risk Indicator for Necrotising Fasciitis (LRINEC)
  • nonogram
  • prediction model
  • necrotising soft tissue infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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