Name: Gas Gangrene
Gas gangrene is a life threatening condition most commonly caused by a bacteria called clostridium. However, some strains of the bacteria known as staph have also been found to cause gas gangrene. The bacteria gains access to deep layers of muscle tissue and releases toxins that cause dangerous gasses to build up in the tissues. This buildup of gas causes tissue injury and death (myonecrosis).
Symptoms of Gas Gangrene
Individuals with gas gangrene may feel a crunching sensation under the skin in an area where gas is building, this crunching sensation is known as subcutaneous emphysema. There may be blisters filled with a brownish red liquid, foul smelling drainage, fever, swelling and pale skin that later becomes dusky or purple in color. Possible Treatment: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is beneficial for individuals with gas gangrene because the bacteria that cause this problem do not do well in an environment that contains high levels of oxygen. When a wound that involves gas gangrene is exposed to high levels of oxygen during HBOT treatment the growth of clostridium and the production of is toxins are halted. HBOT combined with surgery and a regimen of antibiotics may prevent loss of limb for patients who suffer from gas gangrene.