The medical names for these severe infections are clostridial myositis and myonecrosis. These life-threatening infections develop quickly and cause toxins to form in tissue, cells and blood vessels, leading to tissue death. Most gangrene infections occur when bacteria enters a surgical incision or a wound caused by injury. Non-traumatic gas gangrene, which is rare, develops when blood flow to tissues is compromised and bacteria gets inside. People with peripheral vascular disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), or diabetes are more vulnerable to gangrene.
Treatment of gas gangrene may include antibiotics and surgery to remove the dead tissue (debridement). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also may be indicated.