Gangrene: Types, Symptoms and Treatment
August 16, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Gangrene: Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Gangrene is a medical condition which is marked by the death of tissues due to lack of blood circulation in the relative area of the body. It usually occurs in the areas of the body which are farthest from the heart i.e. toes and fingers.

As the circulatory system is involved in this condition, the internal organs of the body are likely to get affected, too, especially the liver. It usually starts in one specific area of the body, and grows outwards affecting the nearby body tissues.

If left untreated, this condition may become fatal. The patient’s body may go into shock, which may further lead to amputation of the affected limb or organ, and may also lead to death in severe emergency cases.


Gangrene is a condition that has three different types depending on its appearance: dry, wet and gas gangrene.

In dry gangrene, there is no visible evidence of infection on the outside of the body. It occurs when a body part or organ is not getting enough oxygen due to the disruption of blood flow. It causes the body tissues of a certain area to start depreciating and die inside the body.

Whereas, in wet gangrene, a body part is infected due to some bacteria. This leads to the moistening and deteriorating of tissues in the infected area. Wet gangrene carries a risk of spreading of the infection in other parts of the body, which is why it is considered more dangerous than dry gangrene.

Gas gangrene is the third type in which a certain kind of bacteria causes the eruption of particular gases in the infected area of the body. This leads to the formation of gas bubbles and other toxins. This process of tissue dying is quick and life-threatening. This condition is mostly fatal, although it is rarer than the other two types of gangrene.


Gangrene may be caused by a number of medical conditions, including arteriosclerosis, appendicitis, and hernia, blood clots due to cholesterol in any area of the body, cancer, and diabetes.

Gangrene may also be caused due to low bodily immunity, post-cancer treatment complications, surgery, frostbite, severe burn or an animal bite, severe accident causing head injury, or due to a result of any medication that caused tissue damage. Other than that, smoking or using drugs may also increase the risk of getting gangrene.


Some external signs and symptoms that may need to be considered are reddishness in a certain area followed by swelling and soreness, a pus wound, a suspiciously cold limb or area of the body which may be followed by lack of sense of touch in that area, and the discoloration in that certain area i.e. that body part turning green, blue, brownish-black.

Internally, the patient may feel discomfort, mild to severe pain in the particular area, unexplained fever and chills, low blood pressure that feels unusual and lasts for a long period of time.


Diagnosed through blood tests, tissue analysis and fluid samples, the gangrene may be treated through antibiotics, either orally or by injecting it directly into the bloodstream, for the removal of any bacteria that may be causing infection. Other than that, vascular surgery may improve the blood flow in the body.

Book an online appointment with Shifa4U to acquire high-quality medicines including antibiotics.

In severe cases, the surgical procedure called debridement is used which is characterized by the removal of the dead body tissues. Or the affected area may be amputated entirely before it threatens the patient’s life.

Recommended Packages

Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.