The authors report twenty two cases of post-operative gas gangrene. In the series studied mortality was 40.9 p. 100, independent of age and sex. Rapidly progressive forms were the most severe. The delay before effective treatment was prescribed influenced prognosis. In clinical terms, shock and associated renal insufficiency were grave, as well as a picture of respiratory distress which led, in certain cases, to contra-indication of one of the therapeutic possibilities, i.e. that of hyperbaric oxygen. Responsible organisms could be isolated in nineteen cases from local samples. There was a marked predominance (15 cases) of clostridium perfringens. Contamination with aerobic flora was common. Examination to assess favourizing circumstances led essentially to a conclusion of the role of microbial contamination, ischemia, broad spectrum antibiotics, absence of appropriate antibiotics and underlying immuno-depression. Treatment was based in the majority of cases on the triple combination of antibiotics, surgery and hyperbaric oxygen, as well as the correction of any general systemic disorders. Mortality was markedly reduced (31 p. 100) in patients receiving complete and early treatment. The gravity and recrudescence of disorders due to anaerobic organisms lead the authors to review current therapeutic possibilities. Appropriate treatment should be prescribed in all situations where an infection due to anaerobic organisms is feared, and should cover the risk of clostridial infection (penicillin 200,000 mu/kg/24 h) as well as the risk of bacteroides (metronidazole 25 mg/kg/24 h). Curative treatment should be prescribed, even in the absence of bacteriological proof, on the basis of presumptive clinical evidence, this being a true emergency which should not be delayed under any circumstances.
Delalande, Perramant, Tanguy, Michaud, Egreteau, , , , (1981). [Postoperative gas gangrene. Apropos of 22 cases]. Annales de l’anesthesiologie francaise, 1981 ;22(4):351-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6119945