The aim of this study was to analyse outcomes over 2 decades using cryopreserved vascular allografts to treat vascular infection.
We conducted a retrospective study of patients identified from our institutional database who were treated for primary or secondary vascular infection using implanted allografts.
Between October 1992 and May 2014, 54 patients underwent surgery for vascular infection out of 118 patients implanted with cryopreserved vascular allografts. The 52 patients for whom we had full information form the basis of the study with a 96% follow-up. The average age was 64 ± 11 years; 87% were men; 65% had previous vascular surgery; 19% had emergency operations. A total of 75% of the patients had aortoiliofemoral infections. Five patients underwent surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Fifty percent required more than 1 allograft and 15% had concomitant procedures. Seventy-three percent (38/52) of specimen cultures yielded positive results with polymicrobial flora in 29%. Surgical specimens most frequently grew coagulase-negative staphylococci. The early postoperative reoperation rate was 15% for allograft-related complications. There were 20 (38%) early deaths, including deaths of acute myocardial infarction, anastomosis rupture and persistent sepsis and shock. Uncontrolled infection leading to septic shock and multiple organ failure was the cause of death in 50% of the cases. The mean duration of freedom from allograft reintervention was 12.2 years. The mean duration of freedom from allograft occlusion or limb loss was 12.1 years [95% confidence interval (CI) 9.9-14.4]. Of the 32 surviving patients, we had patency information for 66% obtained by angiography or computed tomography. The mean survival for the cohort was 5.9 years (95% CI 3.9-7.8). Mean freedom from cardiovascular infection-related death was 9.3 years (95% CI 7.2-11.4).
Allografts can be indicated for treatment of primary/secondary infection and have remarkable results in multimorbid patients. Patients with vascular infection have a high-risk profile, around 40% mortality during the first 6 months, with reduction in overall mortality thereafter. We believe that allografts may play a role in the surgical treatment of vascular infection.