Avatar universal

Gangrene as a result of Peripheral Artery Disease

My 86 yr-old father broke his hip several years ago, and as a consequence of the impeded blood flow, lost the use of one of his legs from the knee down. That along with peripheral artery disease and other serious health problems has left him bedridden.

He has now developed gangrene in that foot.  Because of his poor overall health, age and low quality of life he has chosen to not have it amputated, and intends to allow the gangrene to kill him.  And after years of seeing so many doctors, suffering through many, many hospitalizations and surgeries, he has refused to see any more doctors or be hospitalized.  He is ready to die and wants to do it at home.  He does have a hospice nurse who checks him regularly.

My question:  How long does this kind of gangrene take to kill someone ? (It is the"wet" kind, foul-smelling, and very painful.) And what is the progression of the disease?

My mom, who is his primary caregiver, is completely in the dark since he will not go to a doctor anymore.  I'm sure the answer depends on how strong the person is, but I am looking for a range.  Weeks, months?  And what can we expect as it progresses?
12 Responses
Avatar universal
I hope you get a reply for I am going through the same thing with my 70+ yr old Dad!   Told he won't live through amputation so he said don't bother but the gangrene in one area is spreading so quickly!  Other areas are dry but I am thinking this is wet!  It is getting worse everyday!  He has dry gangrene that hasn't changed at all!   Hospice is involved now....the Hospice nurse hasn't given you any idea?  I am told that sepsis is a possibility....I was told that losing their appetite is a big sign the end is near....sounds like we are going through same thing right now so please feel free to contact me!   ***@****
My father is 98 yrs old and has gangrene in foot.  It spread from one toe to three. Is in palliative care. He has had several small strokes in past few months, can't get out of bed and is spoon fed and only grunts. how long does he have to live?  I live across the country and it is hard for me to visualize how long he has to plan
Avatar universal
My Dad is younger but has also refused amputation!   Dr told him he probably wouldn't live through it anyway.   Gotta respect their choices!   My Dad's wet gangrene is changing daily!   I am not sure how we can email directly but it would be nice to communicate with someone going through what I am!   I am his primary caregiver.   I have ALOT of questions!   He was admitted into Hospice this week so I have not met the nurse he will be seeing yet - Monday - but I am compiling a list of questions!
I wish you and your family peace and dignity in this!
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your reply, tougy.  Sorry it took me so long to reply. At first I couldn't remember where I had posted this question!  

I really feel for you being the primary caregiver.  That's a heavy load to bear.  I am not; my mom is, and I know how hard it is on her.  At least she has daily help now.

As I am new here, I don't know exactly how these boards work, but I was hoping to get an answer from a medical professional.  Do they answer questions posted here?

And as for communicating directly, I'm not sure if I should post my email address. I do have one that isn't my main one so perhaps it would be ok.  (I already get a lot of spam on it.)  But I'll wait for your reply.  Maybe we can figure out a way to talk.  Is there a chat function on this site?
605939 tn?1226277672
hi my dad is in his 70 and i am not sure what it is but his foot is all black and now he has now toes help i dont know what to do. pinklady
Avatar universal
I am taking care of my sister, her foot is half black and the toes look like they are going to fall off. She is only 55 and chose not to get any treatment.She id a diabetic, renal failer, congestive heart and in alot of pain.
Avatar universal
Hi Livva...I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. I truly am! My Father who was only 65 passed away 4 weeks from Gangrene of his foot. He did go through a leg amputation which went surprisingly well considering all of his other complications. 1 week after the op. the Gangrene had spread to his intestines without us knowing and he was gone within days. Once the Gangrene has set in unfortunately the end is very near.

I actually cannot believe I am writing on a post about MY Dad! It all still feels so surreal...

If I can offer you a piece of advise then it is to live with no regrets. Spend as much time with your Dad as possible and be the very best daughter you can be to him. Tell him all the things you never could or did, cause you will never forgive yourself otherwise.

I wish you and your family nothing but strength through this very hard time. No one truly understands what you are going through except those that have been through the same ordeal.

Please feel free to write back to me. I am happy to help you in any way that I can.

Warm regards, Lisa X
Avatar universal
hi my mum had vascular disease had her right leg amputated after a failed operation to take an artery from her groin to bypass the blockage in her calf,she came home from hospital with home nurses visiting daily she often rufused there help in changeing bandages and following through with there care plan.i dont no how or why but she got gangrene in her other leg she suffered from bedsores after the ampuatation when we got her to the hospital it was to late to have the bad leg taken away n tests showd that she was completly riddled in the gangrene there was nothing they could do for her she lived for a heartbreaking 6 hours it hurts so much to not have her in my life but i understand she wasnt living a life she was consummed by pain n fear R.I.P mum xxxxx xxx
5524012 tn?1369888107
hi; like katymatthews101 my mum had vascular disease but before the gangrene she had a stroke in which her brain some parts get damaged which are used for talking and controlling the right hand and leg .after storke about 1.5 year later her right leg small finger caught gangrene ,from that day my mother survived 10 month because of unprofessional doctor in my country.they firstly removed the finger and big area of flesh from under the feet and appointed a home nurse for bandages ,it spreaded again they remove this process continued for 8 month we asked for amputation from surgeon he refused to do it he said that the c.t scan of the brain is suggesting us that if we try to uncautios her she can die .so the way it is going remain on that .and the worst thing happened dry gangrene changed into wet and spread to elbow in three days .still the doctors took 2 week to decide the amputation  .they amputate my mother noting happen .but after 3 days the stiches opened and Surprisingly doctor told us to take mother home and said it will closed by itself .be bought mother home after 13 day she went siptici and died.i can't explain the feeling that how i bear when they cut my mother flesh and dead skin and she cried .the pain in which she was in 10 month .i know the reader are thinking why i didn't change the doctor and surgeon .because they were best of my city and i don't have money to take her to other city or country
she is gone but someone can tell me in that doctor treated my mother like it has to be treated .i know that everyone has to go one day but god never give such pain and doctors to other
                                                  Hamdan ameen from pakistan,karachi

976897 tn?1379167602
It depends on the resources available to your Doctor. In a perfect scenario your Mother would have been on the right medication and a vascular surgeon would have operated to ensure a good supply was available to the tissue.
Avatar universal
Thank you all for sharing so much of your hearts with me. My aunt is 84 she has end stage kidney and PVD. All stints in both legs have failed. All her fistulas failed in an attempt to have dialysis. Her leg now is all mottled with sores. She has what looks like a blood clot in her calf. We will see the vascular surgeon Monday. My sister and I are her primary care givers we are attempting to get a handle on what to expect   Hopefully her pain can be managed we are praying for a quick death as she will not survive amputation. Any words of experience will help. We would appreciate as much honesty as you what you went through without causing you more stress. We are realist
976897 tn?1379167602
Hi, without knowing the full extent of damage to her arteries, it is very difficult to give advice. I just hope that the vascular surgeon is a good one because there are many tools now available to clear out arteries. They can for example run a tiny rotating cutting device up and down the arteries to burr them out. I pray that you hear some positive conclusions.
Avatar universal
My dad 71, had gangrene on his left foot 4 years ago and had his leg amputated below the knee. 2 years later he got gangrene on his right foot, a few of his toes have fallen off and now it looks like it is slowly spreading up (he has blood sores going up his leg, right below his knee). He refused amputation. About a month and a half ago he had a heart attack. They did heart catheter and found that he had one artery 100% blocked & the others were st 90% & 80%. Doctors refused to give him surgery because of the high risk. I've felt so alone through this process, thank you for sharing your stories.
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