Necrotising fasciitis during the COVID-19 pandemic: An Australian hospital network experience


Background: The clinical presentations of diseases and the provision of global healthcare services have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our study aimed to determine the impact of this global pandemic on presentations of necrotising fasciitis (NF).

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted of adult patients with NF in South West Sydney Local Health District from January 2017 to October 2022. An analysis of sociodemographic and clinical outcomes was performed comparing the COVID-19 cohort (2020–2022) and the pre-COVID-19 cohort (2017–2019).

Results: Sixty-five patients were allocated to the COVID-19 cohort, and 81 patients were in the control cohort. The presentation to hospitals of the COVID-19 cohort was significantly delayed compared to the control cohort (6.1 vs. 3.2 days, P \0.001). Patients of the age group of 40 years and younger experienced prolonged operative time (1.8 vs. 1.0 h, P = 0.040), higher number of operations (4.8 vs. 2.1, P = 0.008), and longer total length of stay (LoS) (31.3 vs. 10.3 days, P = 0.035) during the pandemic. The biochemical, clinical, or post-operative outcomes of two groups were not significantly different.

Conclusion: This multi-centre study showed that the COVID-19 pandemic delayed presentations of NF but did not result in any significant overall changes in operative time, ICU admissions, LoS, and mortality rate. Patients aged less than 40 years in the COVID-19 group were likely to experience prolonged operative time, higher number of operations, and greater LoS.


necrotising fasciitis, Australian hospital network, length of stay

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