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J Vasc Surg. 1988 Jan;7(1):21-30.

Infection of vascular prostheses caused by bacterial biofilms.

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Department of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.


A canine model was developed to study the efficacy of graft replacement as treatment for vascular prosthesis infections from Staphylococcus epidermidis. Infrarenal aortic graft infections were established in 18 dogs by implantation of Dacron prostheses colonized in vitro with a slime-producing strain of S. epidermidis to form an adherent bacteria-laden biofilm (5 X 10(6) colony-forming units/cm2 graft). Study animals developed a graft infection with anatomic and microbiologic characteristics typical of late prosthetic graft infections in humans (sterile perigraft exudate, absent graft incorporation, and normal serum leukocyte count and sedimentation rate). The S. epidermidis study strain was isolated from 14 of 18 explanted grafts (78%) by mechanical disruption of the graft surface biofilm and culture in broth media. Four dogs with sterile graft cultures had histologic evidence of bacterial infection. The established prosthetic surface biofilm infection was treated by graft excision, parenteral cefazolin, and graft replacement with a Dacron or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) vascular prosthesis. One month after graft replacement, no PTFE graft had signs of infection, but perigraft exudate and inflammation involved three of nine Dacron grafts (33%). The study strain was recovered from four of nine PTFE grafts (44%) and two of nine Dacron (22%) replacement grafts (p greater than 0.05). Prosthetic replacement of Dacron prostheses infected by S. epidermidis as a bacteria-laden surface biofilm can result in early graft healing, but persistent colonization of one third of replacement grafts signify that recurrent clinical infection remains a risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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