Gas Gangrene of the Diabetic Foot

J La State Med Soc. 2015 Sep-Oct;167(5):213-4. Epub 2015 Oct 15.


A 67-year old man presented with a painful left foot and a putrid odor. His past medical history was significant for poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, and peripheral vascular disease. His surgical history included a prior right below-knee amputation for a diabetic foot infection three years prior, and a left third toe amputation for osteomyelitis one month ago. He was an active smoker. His laboratory data revealed a white blood count of 22 k/uL and a blood glucose of 381 mg/dL. Physical exam demonstrated an erythematous and edematous left foot with subcutaneous crepitus along the plantar surface. Plain film x-rays of the left foot demonstrated gas pockets in the soft tissue and acute osteomyelitis (Figure 1). The patient was diagnosed with gas gangrene and was taken emergently to the operating room. In order to obtain source control of this life threatening infection, a left below-knee amputation was performed and broad spectrum empiric antibiotics were initiated immediately with vancomycin and piperacillin/tazobactam. Cultures were not obtained at the time of surgery and the organisms causing this infection are unknown. The patient survived and was discharged to a rehabilitation facility.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diabetic Foot / complications*
  • Diabetic Foot / surgery
  • Gas Gangrene / diagnosis*
  • Gas Gangrene / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteomyelitis / therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents