Gangrene

Gangrene is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --

Basics

Description

  • Gas gangrene or clostridial myonecrosis
  • An acute, rapidly progressive, gas-forming necrotizing infection of muscle and subcutaneous tissue
  • Can be seen in post-traumatic or postoperative situations
  • Progressive invasion and destruction of healthy muscle tissue

Etiology

  • Clostridial organisms:
    • Facultative anaerobic, spore-forming, gram-positive bacillus
    • Produces a number of toxins; the most prevalent and lethal is α-toxin.
  • Clostridium perfringens is the most common bacterium; found in 80–90% of wounds.
  • Other clostridial bacteria include Clostridium novyi, Clostridium septicum, Clostridium histolyticum, Clostridium bifermentans, and Clostridium fallax.
  • 2 distinct mechanisms for introduction of clostridial organisms:
    • Traumatic and postoperative
    • Nontraumatic associated with diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease, alcoholism, IV drug abuse, and malignancies

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --