• An experience with 20 infected prosthetic grafts in a series of 652 prosthetic arterial reconstructions has been reviewed. There was 13 aortofemoral, one straight aortic, three femoropopliteal, one carotid subclavian, one axilloaxillary, and an axillocarotid graft. The most common site of infection was the groin. All patients had received preoperative and postoperative broad-spectrum antibiotic coverage, perhaps contributing to a high incidence of Gram-negative bacterial cultures. Early procrastination contributed to morbidity and mortality. Attempts at local wound management with drainage and irrigation generally failed, especially if the suture line was involved. Graft excision without revascularization resulted in a number of amputations and a high mortality. Excision of the entire aortofemoral graft combined with extra-anatomical revascularization was uniformly fatal. Our experience suggests that the first objective should be to establish operatively the extent of the infection. If very localized, antibiotic irrigation may cure. Involvement on one side can be treated in one stage by extra-anatomical bypass using the obturator foramen coupled with excision of the infected portion. If the entire graft is involved, we recommend extra-anatomical bypass as the initial procedure. High-dose antibiotic for systemic effect are then administered and two to three days later the infected graft is removed.
(Arch Surg 115:577-580, 1980)