Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
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.
Gangrene is caused by infection or a reduced blood supply to tissues.
Gangrene is more common in older adults.
Other factors that may increase your chance of gangrene include:
External gangrene may cause:
Internal gangrene may cause:
If the gangrene is widespread,
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 of gangrene includes:
To help reduce your chance of gangrene:
American Diabetes Association
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Diabetes Association
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 Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113907/Clostridial-myonecrosis. Updated October 1, 2014. Accessed September 28, 2016.
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 Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115805/Sepsis-in-adults. Updated June 8, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.
Last reviewed August 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
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