The spectrum, management and outcome of cellulitis in subtropical South Africa

Keywords: cellulitis, microbiology, culture, tissue specimen, comorbidities

Abstract

Background: This study aimed to ascertain the microbiology, severity stratification, and clinical outcomes of cellulitis based on our current management for comparison with international reports.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of all patients with cellulitis treated by the department of surgery at Ngwelezana Hospital over an 18-month period. Severity of cellulitis was graded, and a comparison was made of the Eron and Modified Dundee classifications. Superficial swabs were taken for culture on patients who had cellulitis with open wounds or blisters. Culture results, antibiotics used, need for surgical intervention, and length of hospital stay were documented and analysed.

Results: One hundred and thirty-four patients had cellulitis. Severity grading for classes I–IV in the Eron classification was 3%, 57%, 39% and 1%, respectively, and for the Modified Dundee classification, 47%, 11%, 38%, and 4%, respectively. Co-amoxiclav was the most used antibiotic (73%). Superficial skin swabs were taken from 49 patients and 34 cultured 44 specific organisms. The most common organism identified was Staphylococcus aureus (30%). Several gram-negative and anaerobic organisms were cultured. Fifty-three patients required surgical debridement of the infected area and one patient required an above-knee amputation. Mean hospital stay for patients who did not receive surgical intervention was 6 days (IQR 3) and 7 days (IQR 4) for those who did. There were no deaths.

Conclusion: The Dundee classification triages fewer patients as class 2 severity than the Eron system and its use has the potentail to reduce the number of patients hospitalised. Gram-positive organisms predominated in those cultured, but gram-negative cultures were frequent compared to other reported series. Co-amoxiclav is effective as first-line antimicrobial therapy in our environment.

Author Biographies

S Variawa, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Department of Surgery, Ngwelezana Hospital, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

J J P Buitendag, Stellenbosch University

Department of Surgery, Tygerberg Hospital, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

N Jassiem, Dr, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Department of Surgery, Ngwelezana Hospital, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

G V Oosthuizen, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Department of Surgery, Ngwelezana Hospital, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Published
2022-09-21
How to Cite
Variawa, S., Buitendag, J., Jassiem, N., & Oosthuizen, G. (2022). The spectrum, management and outcome of cellulitis in subtropical South Africa. South African Journal of Surgery, 60(3), 195-198. Retrieved from http://sajs.redbricklibrary.co.za/index.php/sajs/article/view/3281
Section
General Surgery