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Necrotizing Fasciitis: Pearls & Pitfalls

thigh fluid gas ct scan

A 39-year-old woman presents to the ED with leg pain and fever. She initially noted redness and pain above her knee 2 weeks ago and was evaluated at an outside hospital. She completed a 10-day course of oral antibiotics for cellulitis. Over the last two days, she has had progressive leg swelling of her entire right thigh. The pain is now so severe that she is having difficulty walking. Her past medical history is negative for diabetes mellitus, chronic liver disease, or alcohol and IV drug use.

On exam, she is febrile to 102.7 F, heart rate is 96 bpm, and blood pressure is 112/65. She has a 12 cm area of faint erythema on her right thigh and tenderness to palpation of her entire right leg with diffuse edema. There is no ecchymosis or bullae formation. (more…)

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