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Gangrene is the decay or death of an organ or tissue caused by a lack of blood supply.  It is a complication resulting from infectious or inflammatory processes, injury, or degenerative changes associated with chronic diseases like diabetes mellitusGas gangrene involves the muscle and not the skin.  In moist or gas gangrene, there is a sensation of heaviness in the affected region followed by severe pain.  


Symptoms may include:


  • a red line on the skin - demarks the border of the affected tissues
  • dry gangrene may cause some pain
  • the area becomes cold, numb, and pale and then changes to a brown color and finally black
  • dead tissue falls off

If bacterial toxins are allowed to spread in the bloodstream, the other symptoms may include:



Causes may include:


  • chronic diseases
  • post-traumatic and/or post-surgical causes

Types include:


  • dry - arteries become obstructed and the tissue slowly dies because it does not receive adequate blood flow
  • moist - occurs in the toes, feet or legs after an injury or some other factor that causes blood flow to stop
  • gas - moist gangrene usually caused by a bacteria that produce gasses and toxins as they grow

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Hamilton. Phone: 609-586-7900 Physician Referral: 609-584-5900.

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