Gas gangrene

J Trauma. 1983 Nov;23(11):991-1000. doi: 10.1097/00005373-198311000-00006.


Gas gangrene is not a disease of the past. Despite improved awareness, earlier care of trauma victims, new antibiotics, and advanced monitoring techniques, histotoxic clostridia continue to cause loss of life and limb. A 20-year literature review on gas gangrene (Part I) indicates that a combined therapy approach with early recognition, surgical intervention, appropriate antibiotics, and hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) provides optimal care. Part II, a 15-year clinical experience, appears to be the largest English-language series reported using the combined therapy of antibiotics, surgery, and hyperbaric oxygen. One hundred thirty-nine patients (95 males and 44 females), average age, 38 years, were admitted with clostridial myonecrosis. Sixty-seven were in shock at admission and the 27 deaths occurred in this group. One hundred twelve patients (81%) survived the infection. There was a 5% mortality in post-traumatic extremity clostridial myonecrosis. Age and concurrent disease increased the mortality rate, as did delay from time of diagnosis to aggressive combined treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Clostridium / physiology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gas Gangrene / diagnosis
  • Gas Gangrene / epidemiology
  • Gas Gangrene / etiology
  • Gas Gangrene / microbiology
  • Gas Gangrene / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents