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A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2014 December;55(6):779-92

language: English

Prosthesis infection: prevention and treatment

de Donato G. 1, Setacci F. 2, Galzerano G. 1, Ruzzi U. 1, Borrelli M. P. 1, Mazzitelli G. 1, Setacci C. 1

1 Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, Vascular Surgery Unit, University of Siena, Siena, Italy;
2 Department of Surgery “P. Valdoni”, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy


Implantation of a vascular prosthesis increases surgical site infection risk by producing a microenvironment conducive to bacterial attachment and biofilm formation, which sustains bacterial colonization and protects encased organisms from host defenses and antimicrobial therapy. Many maneuvers are used in an attempt to reduce infection in arterial reconstructions, but there are no clear guidelines on the most appropriate or effective. As well, there is no good evidence to guide management. A general principle is that indication for removal of the entire infected graft is mandatory when a suture line is involved in the infectious process, an infected anastomotic aneurism and a suture-line hemorrhage is evident, or when a graft-enteric fistula is diagnosed. Conservative, non-resectional management of graft infection is still a respectable solution for selected patients, as those with significant comorbidities, or those where the implanted aortic graft is in a location that precludes excision without causing a high likelihood of morbidity and/or mortality. Anyway, definitive management depends on the patient’s condition and a tailored approach should be always offered. Surgical techniques favor in terms of mortality, patency and reinfection rate the in situ reconstruction. Currently, the choice of the technique used relies on center and operator’s experience. This article summarizes the incidence of graft infection, analyze the predisponding factors to graft infection, and review current strategies for prevention and treatment of prosthesis and endograft infection.

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