Gas Gangrene Essay

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Gas Gangrene Etiology/causative agent. The cause of Gas Gangrene, otherwise known as Myonecrosis or Clostridial Tissue infection, is usually from a bacterium called Clostridium perfringens (Vorvick 2012). This bacteria usually if found in the G.I. tract and in dirt, and is a gram-positive, spore-forming, anaerobic rod (Shukla 2009). Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio vulnificus can also cause very similar infections considered to be Gas Gangrene (Vorvick 2012). Diagnostic Characteristics. The doctor will look for discoloration of the affected area, a yellowing of the skin or a red or brown blister. Also any foul smelling discharge from the area is a positive sign of Gas Gangrene, the discharge can be sampled and tested for a definite conformation that it is an anaerobic, gram positive rod. There is a possibility of a crackling under the skin when compressed slightly, and an inability to contract the muscle in the affected area. Pathogenicity. The Clostridial bacteria most commonly infect a pre-existing wound either from injury or surgery. Because it is an anaerobic bacterium it will thrive in an environment with devitalized tissue. Once the infection has occurred the bacteria produce a toxic gas that kills muscle, providing an even more anaerobic area, which explains such rapid spread in the body. It is the gas that kills the surrounding muscle not the actual bacteria (Reed 2004). Diagnostic tests and treatment. There are usually very strong visual signs specifically attributed to Gas Gangrene that do not even require any testing such as large liquid or air filled blisters that have a red or brown color and an odorous discharge. Usually air can be felt beneath the skin and incapability to contract the muscle in the area of infection (Reed 2004). X-rays, CT scans, and MRI tests can prove the presence of gas but that does not exclusively point to Gas

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