Gangrene General Info
- A form of tissue necrosis characterized by critically insufficient blood supply leading to tissue death.
- Primarily divided into wet gangrene vs dry gangrene. Other, specific forms of gangrene include Fournier's gangrene, gas gangrene, and necrotizing fasciitis.
- Most commonly occur in distal extremities, clasically the feet.
- Main risk factors are diabetes, smoking, and peripheral arterial disease.
- Usually due to peripheral arterial or venous disease, but can also be sequelae of trauma or burns causing vascular injuries.
- Presents with swollen, pale, soft tissue, often with a putrid smell and purulent discharge.
- As tissue is infected, wet gangrene presents a higher risk of systemic infection than dry gangrene.
- Trench foot
- Necrotizing soft tissue infections
- Diabetic foot infection
- Wet-sock erosions
- blood cultures
- History and physical examination are usually sufficient to make the diagnosis.
- Given higher risk for systemic infection, patients should be evaluated for signs/symptoms of sepsis
- Wet gangrene requires broad spectrum antibiotic coverage, as these are often polymycrobial infections.
- Requires surgical consultation as rapid debridement or amputation of necrotic tissue is required to prevent further spread of infection.