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Gangrene is the death and decay of body tissue, often occurring in a limb, caused by insufficient blood supply and usually following injury or disease.

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Additional Info

Gangrene is usually noticed by the black color of the affected tissue (resulting from formation of iron sulfide from decomposed hemoglobin) and a putrid (foul) odor.

A type of gangrene called gas gangrene is caused by anaerobic bacteria, organisms that do not require oxygen to live. In fact, oxygen is a poison to these kinds of bacteria and one effective treatment for gas gangrene is to place the victim in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, one that contains 100% oxygen at a pressure 2 to 3 times normal atmospheric pressure. This helps oxygen permeate the affected tissue and kills the bacteria.

Treatment usually includes antibiotics as well as surgery to remove the affected tissue, sometimes including amputation. Left untreated, gangrene can be fatal.

Most of the risk factors for gangrene are not occupational and are beyond the scope of this article. Examples of these include diabetes, smoking, poor circulation etc. If you suffer any minor bodily injury or trauma, monitor your injury for signs of infection (such as swelling, redness, etc.) and seek medical attention if necessary. See the links under Further Reading for more information.

SDS Relevance

It is rare to see this term on Safety Data Sheets. It usually appears in reference to injuries such as a high pressure injection of material under the skin or exposure to certain biological agents. Gangrene can also develop in cases of frostbite. If you work with cryogenic (very cold) materials, Section 8 (exposure controls/personal protection) of the SDS should recommend proper protection (gloves etc.) to avoid frostbite and caution workers to monitor any injuries for signs of infection.

Further Reading

See also: air, dermal, edema, inflammation, urticaria.

Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.

Entry last updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2022. This page is copyright 2000-2023 by ILPI. Unauthorized duplication or posting on other web sites is expressly prohibited. Send suggestions, comments, and new entry desires (include the URL if applicable) to us by email.

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