Emergent Gas Gangrene

Gas gangrene is an emergent case where a bacterium, most commonly Clostridium perfringens grows inside the body and produces harmful toxins and gas causing tissue death. It can be caused by other bacteria such as Group A streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus and Vibro vulnificus.

Gas gangrene most often occurs at a wound site, recent surgical site or trauma site. It can develop suddenly and rapidly accelerate causing irreversible tissue damage.

Symptoms of Gas Gangrene

 Change in color of the skin to a pale to brownish-red color

 

 Crepitus– gas can be felt as a cracking sensation when pressing on the swollen area

 

 Brown fluid filled blisters

 

 Fever

 

 Sweating

If not treated immediately a person can go into shock which will lead to kidney failure and eventually lead to death.

Diagnosis

Gas Gangrene can be diagnosed by clinical examination. To confirm the presence of Clostridium bacteria a tissue culture may be taken. Blood cultures can also be used to determine a bacteria infection. X-rays can be used to identify the presence of gas in the soft tissue.

Treatment

Gas gangrene is an emergent case and surgical intervention is required. Surgical debridement of the damaged and infected tissue must be removed. In severe cases partial amputation may be required to prevent further spread of the infection. IV antibiotics will be prescribed. In some cases hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment may be implemented. Clostridium bacteria cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment and therefore HBO can be used to kill the bacteria.

Dr. Farshid Nejad

The VIP’s of wound healing

According to APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) approximately 15% of individuals with diabetes will develop an ulcer. Celebrities like Halle Berry and Tom Hanks are diabetic and it is important for them or any person with diabetes to check their feet daily and ensure they do not have any open lesions. Wound healing is slowed when you have diabetes so it is important to treat wounds promptly. There are three important factors Dr. Dardashti checks when a patient presents with a wound and they can be summarized as “VIP.”

V is for vascular, for a wound to heal you need an adequate blood supply to provide proper nutrients to the injured area in order for healing to take place

I stands for infection, an infected wound needs to be treated with antibiotics before the wound can heal itself

P stands for pressure; some wounds on the feet are in places that are constantly subjected to increased pressures when walking. This chronic pressure will cause the tissue to breakdown resulting in a wound, thus it is important to relieve pressure from a wound to allow it to properly heal.

Dr. David Dardashti