Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Fournier gangrene

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Infectious disease




emerg/929 med/2814

Fournier gangrene

N49.8 (ILDS N49.81), N76.8

Fournier gangrene is a type of necrotizing fasciitis or gangrene affecting the perineum. It commonly occurs in elderly men, but it can also occur in women and children. It is more likely to occur in diabetics, alcoholics, or those who are immune compromised.


It was first described by Baurienne in 1764 and is named after a French venereologist, Jean Alfred Fournier, following five cases he presented in clinical lectures in 1883.


In the majority of cases Fournier gangrene is a mixed infection caused by both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Death can result from Fournier gangrene.


Fournier gangrene is a urological emergency requiring intravenous antibiotics and debridement (surgical removal) of necrotic (dead) tissue. In addition to surgery and antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be useful and acts to inhibit the growth of and kill the anaerobic bacteria. Despite such measures, the mortality rate overall is 40%, but 78% if sepsis is already present at the time of initial hospital admission.


An estimated 750 cases have been reported in the literature, with most people in their 60s or 70s with other illnesses. According to another study in 2000, there have been at least 1726 reported cases in the English literature. However, Fournier gangrene is not a reportable illness, so the number of unreported cases is unclear. A similar infection in women has been occasionally described.

In Turkey it was reported that 46% of patients had diabetes mellitus while other studies have identified approximately a third of patients having either diabetes, alcoholism or malnutrition, and 10% having medical immunosuppression (chemotherapy, steroids, or malignancy).

Notable cases

The most historically prominent sufferers from this condition may have been Herod the Great, his grandson Herod Agrippa, and possibly the Roman emperor Galerius. Puerto Rican abolitionist and pro-independence leader Segundo Ruiz Belvis died from Fournier gangrene in November 1867.


Fournier gangrene Wikipedia

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