Author(s): Seeger JM
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Abstract Management of patients with infected prosthetic vascular grafts is one of the most difficult challenges faced by the vascular surgeon. Patients often present with nonspecific symptoms, but delay in treatment can lead to life-threatening sepsis and/or hemorrhage. Fortunately, prosthetic vascular graft infection is uncommon, with the incidence varying between 1 and 6 per cent, depending on the location of the graft. Initially, the potentially infected vascular graft should be imaged using either CT or magnetic resonance imaging, with radionuclide studies being reserved for those instances in which imaging studies do not confirm or exclude the diagnosis of infection. Current treatments for prosthetic vascular graft infection include attempted graft preservation, graft removal with in situ graft replacement (using autogenous or new prosthetic grafts), and graft removal with extra-anatomic bypass. Morbidity and mortality associated with treatment, likelihood of long-term limb salvage, and likelihood of persistent or recurrent infection vary among these types of treatment. Therefore, in an individual patient with a prosthetic vascular graft infection, many things must be considered to appropriately determine the treatment most likely to achieve eradication of the infection and long-term limb salvage with the lowest risk. Regardless, with appropriate application of the techniques currently available for treatment of prosthetic vascular graft infection, long-term elimination of infection and limb preservation can be achieved in the great majority of patients with this grave problem.
This article was published in Am Surg
and referenced in Journal of Vascular Medicine & Surgery