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A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2010 February;51(1):15-31

language: English

Management of thoracic endograft infection

Chiesa R., Tshomba Y., Kahlberg A., Marone E. M., Civilini E., Coppi G., Psacharopulo D., Melissano G.

Department of Vascular Surgery, Scientific Institute San Raffaele Hospital, “Vita-Salute” University School of Medicine, Milan, Italy


Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) has emerged as a promising, less invasive alternative to conventional open surgery for the treatment of thoracic aortic pathology. Most surveillance after TEVAR concentrates on the technical aspects of the procedure, including endoleak, device migration and endograft rupture; so far, the knowledge on endograft infectious complications is limited to anecdotal reports. Several etiopathogenetic factors may play a role in thoracic endograft infections (TEIs), including perioperative contamination, hematogenous seeding, and local bacterial translocation. Moreover, fistulization with the esophagus or the bronchial tree is a common mechanism of secondary TEI, and it represents a dramatic event requiring a multidisciplinary management. Risk factors assessment and prevention have a key role in avoiding the development of new TEIs. When a TEI is established, treatment is demanding, and includes several medical therapies associated with various surgical options. Patients are usually severely compromised by sepsis, and in most cases they are considered unfit for surgery for general clinical conditions or local concerns. Thus, results of different therapeutic strategies for TEI are still burdened with very high morbidity and mortality. In this paper, we reviewed the English literature regarding the main strategies proposed for operative management of TEI, we reported and analyzed our personal series of 7 patients treated at our institution for TEI from 1999 to 2009, and we summarized results from the data collected during a recent Italian multicenter national survey, performed to investigate aortoesophageal and aortobronchial fistulae treated with TEVAR or developed following TEVAR.

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