A systematic review of infected descending thoracic aortic grafts and endografts

Andrea Kahlberg, Alessandro Grandi, Diletta Loschi, Frank Vermassen, Nathalie Moreels, Nabil Chakfé, Germano Melissano, Roberto Chiesa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to collect and critically analyze the current evidence on the modalities and results of treatment of descending thoracic aortic surgical graft (SG) and endograft (EG) infection, which represents a rare but dramatic complication after both surgical and endovascular aortic repair. Methods: A comprehensive electronic health database search (PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Library) identified all articles that were published up to October 2017 reporting on thoracic aortic SG or EG infection. Observational studies, multicenter reports, single-center series and case reports, case-control studies, and guidelines were considered eligible if reporting specific results of treatment of descending thoracic aortic SG or EG infection. Comparisons of patients presenting with SG or EG infection and between invasive and conservative treatment were performed. Odds ratio (OR) meta-analyses were run when comparative data were available. Results: Forty-three studies reporting on 233 patients with infected SG (49) or EG (184) were included. Four were multicenter studies including 107 patients, all with EG infection, associated with a fistula in 91% of cases, with a reported overall survival at 2 years of 16% to 39%. The remaining 39 single-center studies included 49 patients with SG infection and 77 with EG infection. Association with aortoesophageal fistula was significantly more common with EG (60% vs 31%; P = .01). In addition, time interval from index procedure to infection was significantly shorter with EG (17 ± 21 months vs 32 ± 61 months; P = .03). Meta-analysis showed a trend of increased 1-year mortality in patients with SG infection compared with EG infection (pooled OR, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 0.9-14.7; P = .073). Surgical management with infected graft explantation was associated with a trend toward lower 1-year mortality compared with graft preservation (pooled OR, 0.3; 95% confidence interval, 0.1-1.0; P = .056). Conclusions: Thoracic aortic EG infection is likely to occur more frequently in association with aortoesophageal fistulas and in a shorter time compared with SG infection. Survival is poor in both groups, especially in patients with SG infection. Surgical treatment with graft explantation seems to be the preferable choice in fit patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1941-1951.e1
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Blood vessel prosthesis
  • Endovascular procedures
  • Esophageal fistula
  • Fistula
  • Infection
  • Respiratory fistula
  • Surgery
  • Thoracic aorta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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