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. There are different types of gangrene and all require immediate medical attention.

Gangrene Causes

Blood plays a very important role in your health. Not only does it transport oxygen and nutrients throughout your body to feed cells, it delivers disease-fighting antibodies that protect your body from infection. When blood cannot travel freely throughout the body, your cells cannot survive, infection can develop, and tissue can die from gangrene. Any condition that affects blood flow increases your risk of gangrene, including: 

  • Diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Trauma or injury
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (a condition in which the blood vessels that supply the skin become intermittently narrowed)

Gangrene Types

There are two main types of gangrene:

Dry gangrene: More common in people with diabetes and autoimmune diseases, dry gangrene usually affects the hands and feet. It develops when blood flow to the affected area is impaired, usually as a result of poor circulation. Unlike other types of gangrene, infection is typically not present in dry gangrene. However, dry gangrene can lead to wet gangrene if it becomes infected.

Wet gangrene: Unlike dry gangrene, wet gangrene almost always involves an infection. Injury from burns, or trauma where a body part is crushed or squeezed, can rapidly cut off blood supply to the affected area, causing tissue death and increased risk of infection. It is called “wet” because of pus. Infection from wet gangrene can spread quickly throughout the body, making wet gangrene a very serious and potentially life-threatening condition if not treated quickly. 

Types of wet gangrene include: 

Internal gangrene: If gangrene occurs inside the body, then it is referred to as internal gangrene. This is usually related to an infected organ such as the appendix or colon

Gas gangrene: Gas gangrene is rare, but dangerous. It occurs when infection develops deep inside the body, such as inside muscles or organs, usually as a result of trauma. The bacteria that causes gas gangrene, called clostridia, release dangerous toxins or poisons that wreak havoc throughout the body along with gas which can be trapped within body tissue. Gas gangrene warrants immediate medical treatment. Without treatment, death can occur within 48 hours. 

Fournier’s gangrene: Also a rare condition, Fournier’s gangrene is caused by an infection in the genital area. Men are affected more often than women. If the infection gets into the bloodstream, a condition called sepsis, it can be life-threatening.

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both photos from wiki commons 


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Dr Warhol’s Periodic Table of Microbes

6. C. Clostridium

The Clostridium group contains major lethal pathogens, as well as many benign soil and environmental species. There are more than 100 species.

The prominent pathogenic organisms produce toxins, such as:

Clostridium botulinum, maker of the world’s deadliest neurotoxin, botulinum toxin (or botox). This organism is a problem in improperly preserved food. The toxin causes a flaccid paralysis.

Clostridium tetani, which causes tetanus. The toxin causes violent, and sometimes fatal, muscle spasms.

Clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene in wounds, and food poisoning when ingested.

Clostridium difficile, which causes potentially life threatening diarrhea and inflammation of the large intestine.

For people more interested in environmental and industrial microbiology, there these and others:

Clostridium thermocellum, which can convert plant fiber to ethanol.

Clostridium acetylbutylicum, which was used in the production of gunpowder and TNT in the World War One.

Clostridia are gram-positive rods. They form spores that resist adverse conditions. They can be 1.5 to 22 microns long by 0.5 to 2 microns wide. The name is from the Greek “kloster” for spindle shaped.

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When invasive organisms were introduced to the body via gunshot wounds, a “phagedenic condition” (“eating-sloughing”) can occur. It was treated the same way as all other ulcers developing wet gangrene - amputation

Charles F. Barnum, Private in Co. E, of the 187th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, was shot in the Battle of Petersburg, VA, and was photographed and illustrated when his ulcer extended 6.5 inches from his ankle. The amputation was performed just below the tubercule of the tibia, and healed fully. No prosthetic was recorded before discharge.

Photograph from National Museum of Health Archives. Contributed Photograph 1183.

The Times, Shreveport, Louisiana, December 2, 1916

It’s too bad that The Times prediction did not come true when they went on to say that Katherine Mary Davies was “a heroine who’s name would go down in European history”. It took me a little bit of digging to find this one website with a mention of Miss Davies, and I haven’t really found any others.

From the website Inspirational Women of WWI

Mary Davies was born on 8th December 1874. Her parents were Sir Robert Henry Davies (1824 – 1902), Governor of the Indian Province of the Punjab from 1871 – 1877, and his wife Mary Frances nee Cautey.

Mary was training to be a bacteriologist at the Pasteur Institute in Neuilly, France when the First World War broke out.  The American Hospital was established at the Pasteur Institute and there Mary worked with Dr. Kenneth Taylor, who was a bacteriologist who qualified at Minnesota University.   Dr Taylor was working on a serum of Quinine Hydrochloride to treat Gas Gangrene, experimenting initially on guinea pigs.  

In October 1915, Mary deliberately injected herself with the bacteria used to infect the guinea pigs and asked Dr. Taylor to treat her.   The treatment was successful and after some days in hospital, Mary was sent home to England to recuperate.  She wrote a treatise suggesting that if the cloth used to manufacture British Army uniforms were treated with Quinine Hydrochloride, the incidences of Gas Gangrene might be reduced.

It is perhaps worth noting here, that the Canadian Army Doctor, artilleryman and poet, John McCrae, commented upon his shock on discovering that the heavy use of manure used to fertilise the fields in Flanders and northern France, contributed to the infection of wounds sustained by soldiers on the battle fields of the Western Front in the First World War.
Mary, a member of the Bath Club in London, died in Cannes on 31st March 1928.

Healing process of gas gangrene patient 

In most patients, salvaging the limb that’s affected by gas gangrene is not possible. In this case we see a patient with early-stage gas gangrene undergoing debridement and reconstruction of the arm.

Picture C shows 50 days of postop healing, with good neovascularization and granulation.

In picture D (4 months postop), the patient has had adjacent skin flaps used in initial reconstruction surgery and is healing well. 

Gangrene (The Alchemist & Oh No) feat. Evidence & Roc C - Dark Shades

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The Alchemist & Oh No alias Gangrene haben erst vor wenigen Tagen ihr neues Album “Vodka & Ayahuasca” veröffentlicht, das hindert sie aber nicht daran nun noch einen weiteren Album-Leak in Form von “Dark Shades” mit Dilated Peoples-MC und Producer Evidence und Roc C zu veröffentlichen. Neben den eben erwähnten Evidence und Roc C enthält die neue LP außerdem noch Features von Hip-Hop-Legende Kool G Rap, Prodigy von Mobb Deep und Roc Marciano.

Download: Gangrene (The Alchemist & Oh No) feat. Evidence & Roc C - Dark Shades | via

Tuesday Mixtape

Rakim - Holy Are You

Gangrene ft. Havoc & Sean Price - Sheet Music

Mobb Deep ft.Raekwon - Can’t Fuck Wit This

Shyne - Niggas Gonna Die

Camron ft.Juelz - Double Up 

Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killah - Wisdom Body

Nas - Nas Is Coming

Big Pun - You Ain’t A Killer

Cali Agents - What Ya’ll Want

Sean Price - Straight Music

Big L - Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous

Buckshot & 9th Wonder - Shinin’ y'all

Jeru The Damaja - The Crack

Capone N Noreaga - Don’t Know Nobody

CZARFACE ft. M.F. DOOM - Ka-Bang!

Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon - Clyde Smith