Gas Gangrene – Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Gas Gangrene also called is Clostridial and Myonecrosis. It is caused by Clostridium perfringens(ecrotizing subcutaneous infection). This bacteria is belong to Group A Streptococcus. Clostridium bacteria is produce toxins and it cause tissue death and associated symptoms. It generally occurs at a wound or surgical site, causing painful swelling and destruction of involved tissue. Other common clostridial species that cause gas gangrene include Clostridium bifermentans, Clostridium septicum, Clostridium sporogenes, Clostridium novyi, Clostridium fallax, Clostridium histolyticum, and Clostridium tertium. These environmental bacteria may enter the muscle through a wound and go on to proliferate in necrotic tissue and secrete powerful toxins. These toxins destroy nearby tissue, generating gas at the same time. A gas composition of 5.9% hydrogen, 3.4% carbon dioxide, 74.5% nitrogen and 16.1% oxygen was reported in one clinical caseGas gangrene is rapidly progressive and often fatal. Bacteria in the Clostridium species are gram-positive, spore-forming, anaerobic rods normally found in soil and the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals.

Gangrene is devided in four Types. Premary is Dry gangrene. If the blood flow is interrupted for a reason other than severe bacterial infection, the result is a dry gangrene. The early signs of dry gangrene are a dull ache and sensation of coldness in the area, along with pallor of the flesh. If caught early, the process can sometimes be reversed by vascular surgery. Second is Internal gangrene it section is a stub.In this gangrene the tissues become white. It is located inside the body, usually after surgery or trauma. Also called “white gangrene”.Third is Wet gangrene like in dry gangrene, the blood flow is interrupted, but there is also a bacterial infection. Due to liquefactive necrosis, liquid is released and last is Gas gangrene. Gas gangrene is a bacterial infection that produces gas within tissues in gangrene. It is a deadly form of gangrene usually caused by Clostridium perfringens bacteria. Treatment is usually surgical debridement and excision with amputation necessary in many cases. Antibiotics alone are not effective because they do not penetrate ischemic muscles sufficiently. However, penicillin is given as an adjuvant treatment to surgery.

Causes of Gas Gangrene

1.Clostridium perfringens(bacteria ).




5.Gastrointestinal malignancy


7.Chronic alcoholism


Symptoms of Gas Gangrene

1.Moderate to severe pain around a skin injury

2.Progressive swelling around a skin injury

3.Moderate to high fever


5.Increased heart rate (tachycardia)

Treatment of Gas Gangrene

1.Treatment is usually debridement and excision with amputation necessary in many cases.

2.Antibiotics are not effective but penicillin is given as an adjuvant treatment to surgery.

3.Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is used and acts to inhibit the growth of and kill the anaerobic C. perfringens.

4. Analgesics may be required to control pain.