Refers to an area of dead tissue. Tissue death occurs when the blood supply to the area is compromised by injury or obstruction of the arteries that carry blood to the area. Such arterial disease is seen frequently in the legs of the elderly and of diabetics.

Dead or devitalized tissue easily becomes infected with a number of different types of bacteria. Moist or wet gangrene refers to dead tissue that is infected. Dry gangrene is dead tissue that is not infected. Gas gangrene occurs in tissue infected by the Clostridium bacterium, which actually produces gas in an infected wound. In addition to local symptoms, clostridial infection can cause a severe, generalized blood infection.

Treatment of gangrene depends on the area involved and on whether infection has occurred. Systemic antibiotics and/or surgical removal of the gangrenous part may be necessary as a life-saving measure.