Compared to other life-threatening infection survivors, long-term health-related quality of life (QOL) of patients surviving necrotizing soft-tissue infections (NSTI) and its determinants are little known. In this monocentric prospective cohort including NSTI survivors admitted between 2014 and 2017, QOL was assessed during a phone interview using the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD), the activity of daily living (ADL), instrumental ADL (IADL) scales and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). The primary outcome measure was the SF-36 physical component summary (PCS). NSTI patients were compared according to intensive care unit (ICU) admission status. ICU survivors were matched on SAPS II with non-NSTI related septic shock survivors.
Forty-nine NSTI survivors were phone-interviewed and included in the study. Median PCS was decreased compared to the reference population [- 0.97 (- 2.27; – 0.08) SD]. Previous cardiac disease was the only variable associated with PCS alteration [multivariate regression coefficient: – 8.86 (- 17.64; – 0.07), p  =  0.048]. Of NSTI survivors, 15.2% had a HAD-D score  ≥  5 and 61.2% an IES-R score  ≥  33. ICU admission was not associated with lower PCS [35.21 (25.49-46.54) versus (vs) 41.82 (24.12-51.01), p  =  0.516], but with higher IES-R score [14 (7.5-34) vs 7 (3-18), p  =  0.035] and a higher proportion of HAD-D score  ≥  5 (28.6 vs 4.0%, p  =  0.036). Compared to non-NSTI septic shock-matched controls, NSTI patients had similar PCS [33.81 (24.58; – 44.39) vs 44.87 (26.71; – 56.01), p  =  0.706] but higher HAD-D [3.5 (1-7) vs 3 (1.5-6), p  =  0.048] and IES-R scores [18 (8-35) vs 8 (3-19), p  =  0.049].
Long-term QOL in NSTI survivors is severely impaired, similarly to that of non-NSTI septic shock patients for physical compartments, but with more frequent depressive and/or post-traumatic stress disorders. Only ICU admission and previous cardiac disease were predictive of QOL impairment.