Treatment of vascular graft infection by in situ replacement with cryopreserved aortic allografts: An experimental study

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The purposes of this study were to prove the efficacy of cryopreserved aortic allografts to treat an established vascular graft infection by in situ replacement in an animal model and to evaluate the role of the antibiotics normally used to decontaminate the allografts.


Twenty-three dogs underwent infrarenal aortic replacement with a gelatinsealed knitted polyester graft contaminated in vitro by Staphylococcus epidermidis RP-62. One week later, the 18 surviving animals underwent reoperation for graft removal and were randomized into three groups for in situ replacement: group I (control, n = 6) received a new gelatin-sealed graft; group II (n = 6) received a non-antibiotic-treated cryopreserved allograft; and group III (n = 6) received an antibiotic-treated cryopreserved allograft. Control grafts and allografts were removed 4 weeks after the initial intervention for quantitative bacteriologic analysis and histologic analysis. Bacteriologic results were expressed as colony-forming units per square centimeter of graft material. Qualitative bacteriologic analysis was also obtained from perigraft fluid and tissue.


All of the initially implanted grafts and all of the control grafts (group I) were infected at the time of removal. In group II, three out of six allografts were not totally incorporated, whereas in group III incorporation was always complete, with a significantly decreased inflammatory reaction. All of the antibiotic-treated allografts were sterile, whereas three untreated allografts grew bacteria.


In this model, cryopreserved aortic allografts were more resistant to reinfection than synthetic grafts after in situ replacement of an infected prosthetic graft. However, the antibiotic loading of the cryopreserved aortic allograft appears to be essential to obtain optimal therapeutic effects.

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