Unilateral inline replacement of infected aortofemoral graft limb with femoral vein

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Abstract

Objective:

Aortic graft infection remains a formidable challenge for the vascular surgeon. Traditionally, reconstruction with a neoaortoiliac system (NAIS) involves removal of the entire synthetic graft with in situ reconstruction using femoral vein. Whereas the NAIS procedure is durable with excellent graft patency and a low reinfection rate, it can take up to 10 hours and result in a high perioperative complication rate with significant mortality. Not infrequently, the infection is limited to a single limb. In addition, the patient may be too frail to tolerate aortic clamping for a complete graft excision. Under such circumstances, complete excision of the aortofemoral bypass graft (AFBG) may not be indicated. It is hypothesized that local control of infection and limited reconstruction using femoral vein may be acceptable. The objective of this study was to examine the outcomes of all patients who underwent partial AFBG resection and in situ reconstruction with femoral vein.

Methods:

A retrospective review of all AFBG infections from 2003 to 2015 treated at a tertiary care facility was undertaken. Patients who underwent unilateral partial graft excision with inline reconstruction using femoral vein at the distal (femoral) anastomosis were included. Complete excisions with bilateral revascularizations using any conduit or any extra-anatomic reconstructions were excluded. The primary end point was successful treatment of infection. Secondary end points were procedure-related mortality, graft patency, and perioperative complications.

Results:

During a 12-year period, partial graft excision with bypass using the femoral vein was performed in 21 patients (24 limbs). Mean age was 61 ± 12 years. There were 13 men and 8 women. Mean follow-up was 53 ± 27 months. Successful treatment was achieved in 19 of 21 patients. The two treatment failures were due to persistent infection. One of these patients declined complete graft excision and is receiving lifelong suppressive antibiotic therapy. The other patient underwent complete graft excision and an NAIS reconstruction. There were no perioperative or procedure-related deaths. There were no major amputations, and primary graft patency was 92% at 72 months. The most common AFBG culture isolate was Staphylococcus species. Approximately one-third of cultures did not yield any growth. Patients underwent anywhere from 1 to 12 weeks of combined intravenous and oral antibiotic therapy.

Conclusions:

This limited series demonstrates excellent graft patency with a low persistent infection rate. Thus, in patients with localized graft infection, partial excision with preservation of the proximal synthetic graft is an acceptable alternative when patient factors preclude complete graft excision.

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