Back

Gangrene

(Dry Gangrene; Gas Gangrene; Organ or Tissue Death; Wet Gangrene)

Definition

Gangrene is the progressive death of body tissue resulting from infection and a lack of blood supply. When the blood supply is cut off, the tissue does not get enough oxygen and begins to die.
Gangrene can be internal or external. The 2 most common types of gangrene are:
A rare wet type, called gas gangrene or clostridial myonecrosis, develops from specific bacteria deep inside the body. Gas gangrene can be a result of surgery or trauma.

Causes

Gangrene is caused by infection or a reduced blood supply to tissues.

Risk Factors

Gangrene is more common in older adults.
Other factors that may increase your chance of gangrene include:

Symptoms

External gangrene may cause:
Internal gangrene may cause:
If the gangrene is widespread, sepsis can occur.
Gangrene of the Foot
nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

Treatment

Treatment of gangrene includes:

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of gangrene:

RESOURCES

American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.ca

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

A quick summary of the 6 types of necrosis. Pathology Student website. Available at: http://www.pathologystudent.com/?p=5770. Accessed August 5, 2015.

Clostridial myonecrosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 1, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2015.

Fujiwara Y, Kishida K, Terao M, et al. Beneficial effects of foot care nursing for people with diabetes mellitus: an uncontrolled before and after intervention study. J Adv Nurs. 2011;67(9):1952-1962.

Gangrene. NHS Choices website. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Gangrene/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Updated January 27, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2015.

Sepsis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 25, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.

Revision Information