Necrotizing Fasciitis Masquerading as Stroke: A Diagnostic Dilemma


South Atlantic


Grand Strand Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



abdominal wall necrotizing fasciitis, acute care surgery and trauma, cecal perforation, emergent general surgery, necrotizing fasciitis management


Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Medicine and Health Sciences | Musculoskeletal Diseases | Surgery


Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) poses a diagnostic challenge due to its rarity and similarity in presentation with other critical conditions. We report a case of a 79-year-old male who initially presented with altered mental status and stroke-like symptoms; he was ultimately diagnosed with abdominal wall NF spreading to the lower extremity. Despite a history of cecal mass perforation noted in prior imaging, the patient had been discharged from an outside emergency room on antibiotics, highlighting a missed opportunity for early intervention. Subsequent deterioration led to sepsis, organ failure, and ultimately, the detection of NF. Prompt recognition of subtle skin changes and laboratory abnormalities, along with a detailed physical examination, is essential for a timely and accurate diagnosis. Surgical debridement, coupled with broad-spectrum antibiotics, remains the cornerstone of treatment. Delays in surgical management significantly increase mortality, emphasizing the importance of prompt diagnosis and intervention. This case underscores the necessity for heightened awareness among healthcare providers to recognize NF promptly, especially when its clinical presentation overlaps with other critical conditions. Multidisciplinary collaboration and continued education are imperative to improve outcomes and prevent delays in the diagnosis and treatment of NF.

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