Infected femoral artery pseudoaneurysm in drug addicts: the beneficial use of the internal iliac artery for arterial reconstruction

Chris Klonaris, Athanasios Katsargyris, Anastasios Papapetrou, George Vourliotakis, Sotiris Tsiodras, Sotiris Georgopoulos, Athanasios Giannopoulos, Elias Bastounis
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2007, 45 (3): 498-504

BACKGROUND: Infected femoral artery pseudoaneurysm (IFAP) is a severe complication in parenteral drug abusers, with difficult and controversial management. Ligation alone without revascularization is frequently associated with later intermittent claudication and limb amputation. Furthermore, arterial reconstruction with a synthetic or venous conduit is limited because of a contaminated field and, often, unavailability of autologous venous grafts. In this study, we present our experience with the internal iliac artery (IIA) as a graft for arterial reconstruction after IFAP excision in these patients.

METHODS: Data of 14 consecutive patients who presented with IFAP secondary to parenteral drug abuse from 2001 to 2005 were analyzed. Twelve patients (85.7%) were male. The median age was 27 years (range, 19-42 years). In 13 cases, the IFAP involved the common femoral artery, and in 1 case it involved the profunda femoris artery (PFA). In nine patients, we used the IIA for arterial reconstruction (five as a patch and four as an interposition graft), whereas in two patients the arterial deficit was repaired with a great saphenous vein patch. In two cases, an extra-anatomic bypass with a synthetic polytetrafluoroethylene graft was performed. In one patient, the pseudoaneurysm involved the PFA and was treated with excision and ligation of the PFA.

RESULTS: All nine patients who underwent revascularization with the use of IIA were free of claudication symptoms. None of them experienced any perioperative complications, had signs of reinfection, or required limb amputation during the follow-up period (median, 19 months; range, 4-52 months). Regarding the remaining five patients, one died 25 days after surgery because of multiorgan failure, and one underwent reoperation because of proximal anastomotic rupture of a synthetic graft. The latter patient finally underwent a transmetatarsal amputation.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of IIA for arterial reconstruction after IFAP excision in drug abusers is safe and effective. These preliminary results indicate that the implementation of this technique offers many advantages compared with traditional treatment options.

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