This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Gangrene is a term that describes dead or dying body tissue(s) that occur becaus e the local blood supply to the tissue is either lost or is inadequate to keep t he tissue alive. Gangrene has been recognized as a localized area of tissue deat h since ancient times. The Greeks used the term gangraina to describe putrefacti on (death) of tissue. Although many laypeople associate the term gangrene with a bacterial infection, the medical use of the term includes any cause that compro mises the blood supply that results in tissue death. Consequently, a person can be diagnosed with gangrene but does not have to be "infected." There are two major types of gangrene referred to as dry and wet. Many cases of dry gangrene are not infected. All cases of wet gangrene are considered to be in fected, almost always by bacteria. The most common sites for both wet and dry ga ngrene to occur are the digits (fingers and toes) and other extremities (hands, arms, feet, and legs). What is the difference between wet and dry gangrene? Wet (also sometimes termed "moist") gangrene is the most dangerous type of gangr ene because if it is left untreated, the patient usually develops sepsis and die s within a few hours or days. Wet gangrene results from an untreated (or inadequ ately treated) infection in the body where the local blood supply has been reduc ed or stopped by tissue swelling, gas production in tissue, bacterial toxins, or all of these factors in combination. Additionally, conditions that compromise t he blood flow such as burns or vascular trauma (for example, a knife wound that cuts off arterial flow) can occur first. Then the locally compromised area becom es infected, which can result in wet gangrene. Wet gangrene is the type that is most commonly thought of when the term gangrene is used. Wet gangrene often prod uces an oozing fluid or pus, hence the term "wet." Dry gangrene, if it does not become infected and progress to wet gangrene, usual ly does not cause sepsis or cause the patient to die. However, it can result in local tissue death with the tissue eventually being sloughed off. Usually, the p rogression of dry gangrene is slower (days to months) than wet gangrene because the vascular compromise slowly develops due to the progression of diseases that can result in local arterial blockage over time. There are many diseases that ma y lead to dry gangrene; the most common are diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and toba cco addiction (smoking). Infrequently, dry gangrene can occur quickly, over a fe w hours to days, when a rapid arterial blockage occurs (for example, arterial bl ood clot in the blood suddenly occludes a small artery to a toe). Dry gangrene o ften produces cool, dry, and discolored appendages (sometimes termed "mummified" ) with no oozing fluid or pus, hence the term "dry.