Gangrene is death of body tissue due to a lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection.
- Gangrene commonly affects the arms and legs, including the toes and fingers, but it can also occur in the muscles and in organs inside the body, such as the gallbladder.
- The risk of gangrene is greater if there is an underlying condition that can damage the blood vessels and affect blood flow, such as diabetes or atherosclerosis.
- Symptoms may include skin discoloration, swelling, blisters, sudden severe pain, foul smelling discharge, thin skin, and skin that is cold to the touch.
- Causes of gangrene include lack of blood supply to the area affected, infection, and traumatic injury.
- Types of gangrene include dry gangrene, wet gangrene, gas gangrene, internal gangrene, Fournier’s gangrene, and Meleney’s gangrene
- Risk factors include diabetes, blood vessel disease, smoking, immunosuppression, obesity, and drug use
- Treatments for gangrene include surgery (debridement, amputation, and skin grafting) to restore blood flow and remove dead tissue; antibiotics if there is an infection; and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.