JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Management of gas gangrene in Wenchuan earthquake victims.

Gas gangrene is an emergency condition, which usually develops after injuries or surgery. This study was designed to investigate clinical characteristics, appropriate therapy, and effective control of nosocomial cross-infection of gas gangrene in Wenchuan earthquake victims. Data on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of confirmed, suspected, or highly suspected gas gangrene were collected. Sixty-seven (2.41%) cases of suspected gas gangrene were found, in which 32 cases were highly suspected of gas gangrene and 5 cases were confirmed by culture of Clostridium perfringens. Thereof, injury sites were mainly located on the limbs, and typical indications, including crepitation, severe localized pain, swelling, wound discoloration, dark red or black necrotic muscle, foul smell as well as different degrees of systemic toxic performance were common among them. After hospitalization, all patients were isolated and had surgery quickly to remove dead, damaged or infected tissue. The wounds were also exposed for drainage and washed or padded with 3% liquid hydrogen peroxide for disinfection before all diagnostic test results were available. Additionally, high doses of antibiotics (mainly penicillin) were given for the prevention of infection, and supportive therapy was applied for corresponding symptoms control. Among those cases, no fatality was reported. In summary, in post-disaster emergency relief, the diagnosis of gas gangrene should be primarily based on clinical manifestations; while patient isolation, wound debridement and disinfection, as well as antibiotics treatment, is the main measures for proper treatment and control of nosocomial infection for gas gangrene.

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