Surgical treatment of infected aortic grafts.
ABSTRACT An infection of an aortic prosthesis is a severe condition with high morbidity and mortality rates. Surgical treatment of an infected aortic graft or infected aortic stent-graft focuses on treatment of the infection and maintaining or restoring perfusion of the lower limbs. Over the years various reconstruction options have been introduced, each claiming to be the most successful in securing lower limb perfusion. Consensus about the optimum treatment strategy is lacking. The frail patient population and the relative rarity of the disease limits research on this topic which is an important reason for this lack of consensus. In order to determine which of the various treatment options is the most suitable to treat aortic graft infections, this systematic review was conducted of the available literature of the last 20 years. The search strategy and data collection were based on the guidelines of the Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE). Appropriate inclusion and exclusion criteria were defined. A total of 862 possibly relevant papers were identified. After applying the in- and exclusion, data on mortality, morbidity and complications were extracted from a total of 93 papers. This review covers the various surgical treatment options available in the treatment of infected aortic (stent) grafts. Strategies concerning graft excision are discussed as are the advantages and disadvantages of the extra-anatomic reconstruction and its counterpart, the in situ reconstruction (using antibiotic-impregnated grafts, autologous vein grafts, fresh or cryopreserved allografts, and silver impregnated grafts). Available evidence was summarized and used to construct a clinical decision flowchart. All reconstruction options seem to have their pros and cons, and all have their use in specific situations. The treatment of infected aortic grafts must therefore be tailor-made.