What is the prevalence of Fournier gangrene?

Updated: Jun 03, 2021
  • Author: Vernon M Pais, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Fournier gangrene is relatively uncommon, but the exact incidence of the disease is unknown. In a review of Fournier gangrene in 1992, Paty et al calculated that approximately 500 cases of the infection had been reported in the literature since Fournier’s 1883 report, yielding a rate of 1 case in 7500 persons. [37] A retrospective case review revealed 1726 cases documented in the literature from 1950-1999, with an average of 97 cases per year reported from 1989-1998. [38] A review of National Inpatient Sample data from 2004-2012 identified a total of 9249 patients with Fournier gangrene. [5]

A review using the US State Inpatient Database in 2009 estimated that among 25.8 million hospital admissions from 2001 and 2004, Fournier gangrene constituted only 0.02% of hospital admissions. In this same database, 66% of the hospitals reported no patients with Fournier gangrene, and among high volume centers, the admission frequency was only 1 patient every few months. [39]

The frequency of Fournier gangrene has not likely changed appreciably. Rather, the apparent increase in the number of cases in the literature most likely results from increased reporting.

No seasonal variation occurs. Fournier gangrene is not indigenous to any region of the world, although the largest clinical series originate from the African continent. [40]

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