Gas gangrene is a critical medicalcondition due to bacterial infection within the tissues. This “infection causestoxins to form in the tissues, cells, and blood vessels of the body. Thesebacteria will release toxins that cause tissue death and release a gas” (Pietrangelo).Gas gangrene is more prone to happen when bacteria is able to get into an open woundthat was either from an injury or a previous surgery. Gangrene could also happenif the body tissues have weakened and bacteria is able to get inside. The bacteriumis “an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming bacillus of the genusClostridium” (Wang).
This bacterium is rod-shaped. The symptoms of this disease are very severe asit is acutely difficult to treat. The severity of this condition islife-threatening as if not taking care of in a shortly manner, the symptomscould worsen.
“The incubation period is usually less than 24 hours but has beendescribed to be anywhere from 7 hours to 6 weeks. When symptoms start, clinicaldeterioration can occur within hours” (Wang). This is why it is verycrucial 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-smellingdischarge, excessive sweating, vomiting and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice) isa late sign. Skin in the affected area also becomes pale and then later changesto dark red or purple” (Pietrangelo). When a person has seen any of theabove signs, it is important that they go to the emergency room as “delayingtreatment 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 bedone as soon as the symptoms occur. “Once a diagnosis is made, high doses ofantibiotics will be administered intravenously, or through a vein” (Pietrangelo).If the symptoms are more severe, treatment might be done before a test can beperformed. “In severe cases of gas gangrene, amputation of a limb may benecessary to prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of your body” (Pietrangelo).After this, the patient might be fitted for an artificial limb as areplacement. Another form of treatment is the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.”This type of therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamberfor about 90 minutes” (Pietrangelo) This form of therapy “steadily increasesthe amount of oxygen in your blood, helping infected wounds to heal faster” (Pietrangelo).
The prognoses of gas gangrene are “mortality rates for patients with gasgangrene from trauma or surgery are as high as 25%, but increase to 50-80% forpatients injured in natural hazards. This can be improved with better and morerapid 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. “Ifyou have an injury, make sure to clean the skin thoroughly and to cover the woundwith a bandage” (Pietrangelo).
Whenever you go to the doctors, it is crucial toalso listen to what your doctor say, to follow their instructions and to take yourantibiotics to prevent any infections.