Gangrene is a condition that occurs when body tissue dies. It is caused by a loss of blood supply due to an underlying illness, injury, and/or infection. Fingers, toes, and limbs are most often affected, but gangrene can also occur inside the body, damaging organs and muscles.
The three major types are moist, dry, and gas gangrene. Moist and dry gangrene result from loss of blood circulation due to various causes; gas gangrene occurs in wounds infected by anaerobic bacteria, among which are various species of Clostridium, which break down tissue by gas production and by toxins.
General symptoms of gangrene include: initial redness and swelling, sores or blisters that bleed or release a dirty-looking or foul-smelling discharge (if the gangrene is caused by an infection) the skin becoming cold and pale.
Treatment for gangrene involves removing the affected tissue, preventing infection or treating any existing infection, and treating the problem that led to gangrene developing. For example, if gangrene is caused by a poor blood supply, surgery may be used to repair damaged blood vessels.