Evaluating the effectiveness of using negative pressure wound therapy in the preservation of the infected prosthetic aortic graft

Published:August 01, 2022DOI:



      Infected deep sternal infection due to an associated infection of the prosthetic aortic graft is a devastating condition. Standard management requires the removal of the graft and substituting it with a new one. Often, removal of the prosthetic graft is close to impossible. Negative pressure wound therapy is currently the treatment of choice for patients with deep sternal infection. However, its use in deep sternal infection with exposed infected prosthetic aortic graft has not been well described.


      Eight patients were included in this study. All had type A aortic dissection of the ascending aorta and/or aortic arch.


      There were 7 men and 1 woman. The median age was 53 years old (range 33–81 years old). The median number of days from the initial aortic operation to the diagnosis of infection was 20 days (range 14–52). The median length of stay in the intensive care unit was 17 days (range 6–338 days). The median time interval from the initial debridement to reconstruction was 20 days (range 6–43 days). The median number of times negative pressure wound therapy was changed was 4 (range 2–9). The most common flap used for reconstruction was the pectoralis major musculocutaneous flap in 7 patients, a free antero-lateral thigh flap in 1 patient, and pedicled omental flap in combination with pectoralis major musculocutaneous flap in 1 patient. One patient had persistent recurrent infection of the graft despite negative pressure wound therapy and flap reconstruction. The median length of follow-up was 38.5 months (range 4–120 months).


      This small study suggests that negative pressure wound therapy could be used successfully for the management of deep sternal infection due to infected prosthetic aortic grafts. In most cases, it eliminated the need to replace the infected prosthetic aortic graft in high-risk patients.
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