Wednesday, 6 October 2010

MRCP revision battle 25.5: Gas gangrene

Gas gangrene is a life threatening bacterial infection.

It is characterised by muscle necrosis, gas production and sepsis.

A typical appearance is shown below:

                                       From Wiki Commons, taken by Engelbert Schröpfer, Stephan Rauthe and Thomas Meyer.

Most cases are caused by trauma innoculation with bacteria, for example a farmer standing on a pitchfork.
Very rarely it may occur spontaneously, for example in the context of neutropenia.

The commonest causative organism is clostridium perfringens.

Management is:
  • urgent surgical debridement
  • IV Abx 
  • hyperbaric oxygen if available

Next up - methaemoglobinaemia