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.