Gangrene is the progressive death of body tissue resulting from 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 two most common types of gangrene are:
A rarer wet type, called gas gangrene, develops from specific bacteria deep inside the body. Gas gangrene can be a result of surgery or trauma.
Factors that may increase your chance of developing gangrene include:
External gangrene may cause:
Internal gangrene may cause:
If the gangrene is widespread, sepsis can occur.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Treatment of gangrene includes:
To help reduce your chance of getting gangrene, take these steps:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Diabetes Association
Canadian Diabetes Association
A quick summary of the 6 types of necrosis. Pathology Student website. Available at: http://www.pathologystudent.com/?p=5770. Accessed September 18, 2013.
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 September 18, 2013.
Gas gangrene. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated July 14, 2010. Accessed September 18, 2013.
Sepsis in adults. BSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated August 14, 2013. Accessed September 18, 2013.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.