Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a severe infection characterized by rapidly progressing necrotizing infection of the superficial fascia with secondary necrosis of the overlying skin. Periorbital NF is uncommon because of the excellent blood supply to that area; nevertheless, it can sometimes result in death. The aim of this study is to present a systematic review and analyse the factors associated with death. We carried out a systematic literature review of all cases of periorbital NF published in the English language over the past 20 years and present the predisposing conditions, triggering factors, organisms causing NF, presence or absence of toxic shock and the prognosis. The significance of various risk factors leading to death was analysed. We traced a total of 94 patients with periorbital NF from 61 reports. There were no triggering incidents in 25 cases (26.6%). In 48 cases (51.1%), the organism responsible for NF was Group A beta haemolytic Streptococcus. Toxic shock occurred in 29 (30.9%) cases, and loss of vision in 13 (13.8%). Surgical debridement was carried out in 80 (85.1%) cases. There were eight cases (8.5%) of death. This seems to be less than previously reported figures. Toxic shock syndrome (p < 0.001), type 1 infections (p = 0.018), facial involvement (p = 0.032) and blindness because of periorbital NF (p = 0.035) were significantly associated with mortality. Mortality caused by NF arising from the periorbital area seems to be on the decline. However, it is important to recognize it early and institute treatment to avoid toxic shock that leads to death. Type 1 infections, although rare in periorbital area, are not associated with immunocompromised status and nevertheless carry a significant risk of mortality. Major morbidity is loss of vision followed by soft-tissue defects affecting function and cosmesis.
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