Recurrent Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections with Atypical Pathogens after Injection Drug Abuse: Another Manifestation of the Opioid Crisis

Mayur Narayan, Jackly Juprasert, Caitlin Finn, Philip S. Barie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Injection drug use is a major risk factor for necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTI) by introducing bacteria into the soft tissues. Repetitive infection and atypical pathogens may be tangible manifestations of the opioid crisis. Methods: We describe recidivism in two cases of NSTI involving opioid abuse and atypical pathogens at a single institution and review pertinent international literature. Results: Repetitive NSTI is rare. Patients with chronic injection drug use, however, may be at particular risk of repetitive NSTI and infections with atypical organisms. Conclusions: Care providers must have a heightened awareness of infections with atypical pathogens and risk of repetitive infection in patients with injection drug use. Aggressive surgical management and antibiotic coverage tailored to culture and susceptibility data are necessary for a successful short-term outcome. A successful long-term outcome mandates identification and management of co-existent behavioral health issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-415
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Infections
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • gas gangrene
  • necrotizing soft tissue infection
  • opioid crisis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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