Emergent Treatment of Gas Gangrene Follow-up

Updated: Oct 21, 2016
  • Author: Xiao Wang, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Further Inpatient Care

Urgent-to-emergent surgical debridement is indicated for gas gangrene. Gas gangrene is a rapidly progressive illness. Patients who are initially well-appearing frequently develop the sequelae of severe sepsis or septic shock, and delay to debridement significantly increases this risk. [23, 22] Admit the patient to an ICU with central access and invasive monitoring as necessary.

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Inpatient & Outpatient Medications

Inpatient medications for gas gangrene include intravenous antibiotics and analgesics.

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Transfer

Transfer the patient if appropriate surgical specialist and ICU setting are unavailable.

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Deterrence/Prevention

Appropriate wound care at time of injury (eg, debridement of crushed or dead tissue, copious irrigation) may deter infection.

Prophylactic antibiotics may prevent subsequent infection in selected circumstances.

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Complications

Gas gangrene may progress rapidly; patients often become septic.

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Prognosis

Clostridial infections are more likely to result in limb loss and mortality than other soft-tissue infections. [23] Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment of gas gangrene are the keys to decreasing mortality. Retrospective analysis of all necrotizing soft-tissue infections indicates that a delay to surgery of greater than 12 hours suggests a 3-fold increased risk of developing septic shock and a 6-fold increased risk of mortality. [22]

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