gangrene is a critical medical condition due to bacterial infection enclosed by
the tissues. This particular infection is due to toxins manifesting into the tissues,
cells, and blood vessels which in the end will release gas and cause tissue death.
Gas gangrene is more prone to happen when bacteria is able to get into an open
wound that was either from an injury or a previous surgery. Gangrene could also
happen if the body tissues have weakened enough for bacteria to get inside. The
bacterium is “an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming bacillus of the genus
This bacterium is rod-shaped. The symptoms of this disease are very severe as
it is acutely difficult to treat.
The severity of this condition is
life-threatening as if not taking care of in a shortly manner, symptoms could worsen.
“The incubation period is usually less than 24 hours but has been described to
be anywhere from 7 hours to 6 weeks. When symptoms start, clinical
deterioration can occur within hours” (Wang). This is why it is very
crucial to take care of this condition as soon as you notice any form of
symptoms. These symptoms consist of “increased heart rate, fever, air under the
skin, pain or swelling in the area around a wound, blisters with foul-smelling
discharge, excessive sweating, vomiting and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice) is
a late sign. Skin in the affected area also becomes pale and then later changes
to dark red or purple” (Pietrangelo). When a person has seen any of the
above symptoms, it is vital that they go to the emergency room as “delaying
treatment can lead to shock, kidney failure, and coma” within hours. (Pietrangelo).
This condition is able to spread at such a fast pace that in just a couple of
minutes, you are able to see the changes in the skin.
The treatment of this condition has to be
done as soon as the symptoms occur. “Once a diagnosis is made, high doses of
antibiotics will be administered intravenously, or through a vein” (Pietrangelo).
If the symptoms are more severe, treatment might be done before a test can be
performed. In a more serious case of gas gangrene, a patient’s limb might have to
be amputated to prevent the infection from outspreading into the rest of the body.
After this, the patient might be fitted for an artificial limb as a
replacement. Another form of treatment is the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
“This type of therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber
for about 90 minutes” (Pietrangelo) This form of therapy helps to close the wound
at a much faster rate by intensifying the oxygen that is in the blood. The prognoses
of gas gangrene are “mortality rates for patients with gas gangrene from trauma
or surgery are as high as 25%, but increase to 50-80% for patients injured in
natural hazards. This can be improved with better and more rapid recognition of
the disease followed by early treatment of gas gangrene” (Tidy). It is best to
learn all that you can about gas gangrene so that it could be prevented. The
foremost way of preventing this condition is to practice proper hygiene. If there
has been an injury that involves an open wound, it is very essential to clean the
wound thoroughly and to protect it with a bandage. Whenever you go to the
doctors, it is also crucial to also listen to what the doctor has to say, to
follow their instructions and to take your antibiotics to prevent any further