Infected lower extremity extra-anatomic bypass grafts: Management of a serious complication in high-risk patients

Christian de Virgilio, Kenneth J. Cherry, Peter Gloviczki, James Naessens, Thomas Bower, John Hallett, Peter Pairolero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To determine optimal management and outcome of infected extra-anatomic bypass grafts (EABG), we reviewed 28 patients (19 men and 9 women; mean age 70 years) treated over a 13-year period. Mean follow-up was 42 months. There were 16 axillofemoral (AF), 10 femorofemoral (FF), and two axillopopliteal (AP) grafts. Risk factors included previous prosthetic graft infection in 13 patients, enterocutaneous fistula in two, and mycotic aortic aneurysm in one. Initial management involved complete graft excision in 12 patients, partial graft excision in 10, and nonresectional therapy in six. Failure of nonresectional therapy and partial excision in three patients each required further operative intervention with graft excision. Reconstruction in patients eventually requiring graft excision (n=25) entailed placement of a new prosthetic AF or AP graft in eight, an autogenous FF graft in five, combined prosthetic AF and autogenous FF bypass in two, autogenous iliofemoral bypass in one, obturator bypass in one, or no reconstruction in eight. Four autogenous FF reconstructions thrombosed immediately postoperatively, and three prosthetic reconstructions became infected. The mortality rate was 18% (FF=20%, AF=19%, AP=0%). The amputation rate was 25% (AP=100%, AF=25%, FF=10%) and was higher without arterial reconstruction (56% vs. 12%, p=0.02). Two patients required hemipelvectomies and one had bilateral hip disarticulation. We conclude that EABG infections can be successfully treated but carry significant morbidity and mortality. Optimal management includes EABG resection and prompt revascularization, bearing in mind the risk of early thrombosis in autogenous grafts and reinfection in prosthetic grafts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-466
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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