GAS GANGRENE is the term applied to grave infections produced by a group of anaerobic bacteria of the clostridial group. The clostridial group are ubiquitous and are found in soil, dust, feces, plaster, etc. They require an anaerobic environment to flourish and are easily killed by several antibiotics. Their great tenacity in in vivo infection lies in their ability to dissolve and destroy the surrounding tissues forming a wide enough buffer zone so that no antibiotics can reach them. The characteristic "sickly sweet" odor and "gas" of these infections is due to the anaerobic proteolysis with formation of protein breakdown products. Almost all clinicians feel that the usual cause of death in these infections is localized massive electrolyte shifts that are finally unable to be tolerated by the individual. The patient to be presented gave a hint of this during her clinical course.
These infections usually make themselves apparent about