Necrotising fasciitis is often misdiagnosed by medical professionals. Cellulitis is the most common misdiagnosis, but occasionally doctors will believe a patient has Churg-Strauss syndrome, a rare condition that also causes necrosis.
What is Churg-Strauss syndrome?
Churg-Strauss syndrome, also known as allergic granulomatosis, is a disorder marked by the inflammation of the blood vessels. This inflammation restricts blood flow to vital organs and tissues. This can damage the organs, sometimes permanently.
The common sign of Churg-Strauss syndrome is asthma. However, it can case a variety of problems ranging from hay fever, skin rashes, gastrointestinal bleeding to more severe injuries such as neurological damage. It is well accepted that the wide range of symptoms and the similarities with the symptoms of other disorders make Churg-Strauss syndrome very difficult to diagnose. It is extremely rare and has no cure.
Churg-Strauss syndrome is also a variable illness – something people have only mild symptoms, while other have quite severe or life-threatening complications. Normally the condition has three stages:
- The initial phase is associated with the onset of hay fever or sinusitis.
- This subsequently develops into what is known as the eosinophilic stage where the white cell count in the blood rises. This usually causes fever, fatigue, abdominal pain and night sweats.
- The third stage is what is known as the vasculitic stage which is severe blood vessel inflammation, something which narrows the vessels and reduces blood flow to vital systems including the skin, heart and digestive tract. Amongst other things this can be associated with skin rashes and sores.
Mistaking necrotising fasciitis for Churg-Strauss syndrome
Necrotising fasciitis and Churg-Strauss syndrome do share certain symptoms, particularly rashes upon the skin, sores and fever.
However, the pattern of necrotising fasciitis will not follow the typical progression of Churg-Strauss syndrome, as described above. Most notably, the patient will suffer extreme pain at the site of infection, while the tissue itself will become increasingly discoloured and necrotic.
Therefore if an initial diagnosis of Churg-Strauss syndrome has been made, doctors should note the change in a patient’s symptoms and realise their mistake. Every effort should then be taken to confirm an accurate diagnosis, which can ordinarily be achieved with an MRI scan or a CT scan.
If doctors fail to realise that a patient’s symptoms do not tally with Churg-Strauss syndrome, and are in fact indicative of necrotising fasciitis, the consequences could be devastating.
Claiming for necrotising fasciitis
If you or your loved one has suffered injury because doctors could not make an accurate diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis in a timely fashion, contact us today to discuss making a compensation claim.