is a type of necrotizing infection
) usually affecting the male genitals
. It is a type of necrotizing fasciitis
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
Only 600 cases of Fournier gangrene were reported in the world literature in the ten years since 1996, with most patients in their 60s or 70s with other concurrent illnesses. However, Fournier's gangrene is not a reportable illness, and the condition is not uncommon, especially among diabetic individuals. A similar infection in women has been occasionally described.
In Turkey it was reported that 46% of patients had diabetes mellitus whilst other studies have identified approximately a third of patients having either diabetes, alcoholism or malnutrition, and 10% having medical immunosuppression (chemotherapy, steroids, malignancy).
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
(HBO) is used 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.
The most historically prominent sufferers from this condition may have been Herod the Great, and possibly the Roman emperor Galerius. Puerto Rican abolitionist and pro-independence leader Segundo Ruiz Belvis died from Fournier gangrene in 1868.