(Dry Gangrene; Gas Gangrene; Organ or Tissue Death; Wet Gangrene)
- Dry gangrene—Lack of blood supply causes the tissue to die.
- Wet gangrene—Usually occurs when the tissue is infected with bacteria from an injury. The tissue becomes moist and breaks down.
- Color changes, ranging from white, to red, to black
- Shiny appearance to skin
- Foul-smelling, frothy, clear, or watery discharge
- Shedding off of skin
- Severe pain followed by loss of feeling in the affected area
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lightheadedness or fainting, which may be caused by low blood pressure
|Gangrene of the Foot|
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- Blood tests
- Tests of the discharge and the tissue
- IV antibiotics—to treat infection
- Debridement —surgical procedure to cut away dead and dying tissue, done to try to avoid gangrene from spreading
- Supportive care, including fluids, nutrients, and pain medication to relieve discomfort
- Blood thinners—given to prevent blood clots
- Surgery may also be done to restore blood flow to the affected area
- Amputation—removal of severely affected body part
- Hyperbaric oxygen treatment—exposing the affected tissue to oxygen at high pressure may have some benefit
- If you have chronic health conditions, follow the treatment plan outlined by your doctor.
- If you have diabetes, inspect your feet every day for cuts, sores, or wounds.
- Care for any cuts, sores, or wounds promptly to avoid infection.
- If you need surgery, ask your doctor about taking antibiotics. This is especially true if you need intestinal surgery.
American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org
Canadian Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
A quick summary of the 6 types of necrosis. Pathology Student website. Available at: http://www.pathologystudent.com/?p=5770. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Fujiwara Y, Kishida K, 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. Accessed January 27, 2014.
Gas gangrene. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 25, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Sepsis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 25, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/29/2014 -