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Fournier Gangrene and Unexpected Death

Authors

  • Danielle Bury M.B., B.S.,

    1. Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology, The University of Adelaide, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.
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  • Roger W. Byard M.D.

    1. Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology, The University of Adelaide, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.
    2. Forensic Science SA, 21 Divett Place, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
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Additional information and reprint requests:
Roger W. Byard, M.D.
School of Medical Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Frome Road
Adelaide
SA 5005
Australia
E-mail: roger.byard@sa.gov.au

Abstract

Abstract:  Fournier gangrene represents a rare but progressive perineal infection that may result in rapid death. A 70-year-old man with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus and alcohol abuse is reported who was found unexpectedly dead. He had last been contacted the night before his death. At autopsy, the most striking finding was deep necrotic ulceration of the scrotum with exposure of underlying deep muscles and testicles, with blood cultures positive for Escherichia coli. Death was, therefore, attributed to necrotic ulceration/gangrene of the perineum (Fournier gangrene) that was due to E. coli sepsis with underlying contributing factors of diabetes mellitus and alcoholism. In addition there was morbid obesity (body mass index 46.9), cirrhosis of the liver, and marked focal coronary artery atherosclerosis with significant cardiomegaly. Fournier gangrene may be an extremely aggressive condition that can result in rapid death, as was demonstrated by the rapid progression in the reported case.

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