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 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, sepsis can occur.
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 website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 1, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2015.
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 website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 25, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Last reviewed August 2015 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.