Gangrene a disease which results from interrupted blood supply to tissues and organs such as limbs and other extremities of the body. The impaired blood supply is caused by arteriosclerosis or thickening of the arteries. The blood-deprived tissue rapidly dies, turns dark in colour, and may undergo decomposition. Two types of gangrene are recognised. Dry gangrene results from a slow process of arteriosclerosis and is commonly found in diabetic patients. Sometime the dead tissue becomes infected with bacteria, undergoes putrefaction, and emits fowl smell. This type of gangrene is called moist gangrene or gas gangrene. Often, the causative bacteria producing gas gangrene is the Clostridium species which enter into the dead or dying tissue through wounds, multiply in the anaerobic condition producing toxin. This triggers tissue necrosis and causes haemolysis or disintegration of red blood cells. Gas gangrene is often fatal unless radical surgery such as amputation is performed.
In Bangladesh statistics on the incidence of gangrene is scanty. However, Bangladesh Institute of Research on Diabetic, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders (birdem) has a network of research and service centres throughout the country and is a good source of information on the diabetic patients of the country. [Zia Uddin Ahmed]