Gas Gangrene

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gas gangrene

[¦gas ′gaŋ‚grēn]
A localized, but rapidly spreading, necrotizing bacterial wound infection characterized by edema, gas production, and discoloration; caused by several species of Clostridium.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gas Gangrene


gas phlegmon, malignant edema, Antonov’s fire, a severe acute infectious disease caused by several microbial clostridia (Cl. perfringens, Cl. septicum, Cl. oedematiens, Cl. histolyticum) that grow without access to oxygen (anaerobic infection). It arises in deep, lacerated, and crushed extensive wounds that have pockets and recesses and in which the local blood circulation has been disrupted. It is particularly common in wartime and occurs almost exclusively in the limbs (usually the legs). It affects all soft tissues but mainly fatty tissue and muscles. The classical symptoms of inflammation are absent in gas gangrene. The process is characterized by progressive edema, gas formation in the tissues, poor general condition, and necrosis caused by the specific toxins of the causative agents of the disease and by the products of tissue breakdown. The incubation period is 3-5 days. The affected limb quickly swells. Two phases are distinguished according to the local changes in the course of the process: edema formation and the development of gas gangrene. In the latter, gas is produced in the dying tissues. The edema is the tissue reaction to the toxins, and the gas is the result of the decomposition of muscle glycogen and protein by the toxins.

Severe bursting pain develops at the site of gas gangrene and edema in the wound. The skin at first is pale and then becomes covered with brown, bronze, or blue spots; it is cold to the touch. In the classical emphysematous form, gas formation predominates over the edema. The wound is dry, and gas bubbles are released when it is pressed. The muscles at first look like boiled meat. They then become dark with a greenish tint; the tissue is a dirty gray in color. In the edematous (toxic) form, the tissues look like jelly and a bloody-serous fluid exudes from the wound. There is little gas in the tissues.

Mixed and other atypical forms of gas gangrene occur. In these forms, the patient’s general condition deteriorates rapidly, and signs of poisoning by the metabolic products of the microbes and decomposition of dead tissues intensify. The temperature rises to 39-40° C, the pulse accelerates (130-150 beats a minute), blood pressure is low (80 mm mercury and lower), and breathing becomes rapid. General excitation or inhibition and insomnia develop. The patient is usually conscious. Treatment consists of emergency surgery, serotherapy, antibiotics, and blood transfusion. Preventative measures include early treatment of the wound and use of antigangrene serum.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Takeshita, "Spontaneous uterine perforation due to clostridial gas gangrene associated with endometrial carcinoma," Journal of Nippon Medical School, vol.
The mean age reported in the present study was expected, as blackleg and gas gangrene commonly affect ruminants younger than 18 months old (LIMA et al., 2006; ASSIS et al., 2010; UZAL et al., 2016).
Busuttil, "Hepatic artery thrombosis resulting in gas gangrene of the transplanted liver," Surgery, vol.
Seo, "Subcutaneous emphysema mimicking gas gangrene following perforation of the rectum: a case report," Journal of Korean Medical Science, vol.
The conditions for development of a gas gangrene infection are scantily described in the story but are correct.
(8,9) As a result, hyperbaric oxygen can be a useful adjunct in gas gangrene infection, but surgery should never be delayed in the setting of sepsis.
Morbidity Mortality Actinosis 2,51 0,39 Pneumonia 7,78 2,56 Bovine respiratory disease 11,03 3,38 Copper deficiency 26 1 Blackleg, Gas gangrene, Enterotoxaemia 2,9 2,4 Note: Table made from bar graph.
(10) Of the clostridial species, infections caused by Clostridium perfringens require devitalizing injury in order to cause pathology; on the other hand, spontaneous gas gangrene is most often associated with C septicum.
Elsie was in charge of the bacteriological lab during those first few traumatic days of the Somme and responsible for spotting the early signs of gas gangrene, a deadly wound infection which became common on the battlefield.
This divides into two categories Blackleg (black quarter) and Malignant Oedema (gas gangrene).
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is also used in cases of gas gangrene - the bacteria that infect gangrenous tissue cannot survive if they're oxygenated.