Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Tests used to help make a diagnosis of gangrene include:

  • Blood tests. An abnormally elevated white blood cell count often indicates the presence of an infection.
  • Imaging tests. An X-ray, a computerized tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can be used to view interior body structures and assess the extent to which gangrene has spread.

    An arteriogram is an imaging test used to visualize your arteries. During this test, dye is injected into your bloodstream and X-ray pictures are taken to determine how well blood is flowing through your arteries. An arteriogram can help your doctor find out whether any of your arteries are blocked.

  • Surgery. Surgery may be performed to determine the extent to which gangrene has spread within your body.
  • Fluid or tissue culture. A culture of the fluid from a blister on your skin may be examined for the bacterium Clostridium perfringens, a common cause of gas gangrene, or your doctor may look at a tissue sample under a microscope for signs of cell death.
Aug. 10, 2011