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August 9, 1971

Prevention and Treatment of Gas Gangrene

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

JAMA. 1971;217(6):806-813. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190060046011

Analysis of a series of 54 cases of gas gangrene with a yearly incidence of 1.8 cases emphasizes the infrequency of its occurrence. Clostridium perfringens was cultured in 95% of the cases, C novyi in 8%, and C septicum in 4%. The mortality was 14.8%. Clinical classifications of clostridial infection and nonclostridial crepitant lesions emphasize differential diagnostic points. Prevention of gas gangrene is accomplished by early, adequate debridement of wounds. Prophylactic serotherapy or antibiotic therapy is ineffective. Primary treatment of established gas gangrene is surgical decompression or amputation of the involved part. Adjunctive intravenously administered penicillin G potassium and tetracycline hydrochloride, polyvalent gas gangrene antitoxin, and supportive therapy are used.

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