Primary extraanatomical revascularization for groin infections in drug addicts

V Matoussevitch, M Aleksic, M Gawenda, J Brunkwall
VASA. Zeitschrift Für Gefässkrankheiten 2007, 36 (3): 210-4

BACKGROUND: Arterial groin infections in drug addicts are associated with a risk of amputation and are potentially lethal. Primary revascularization with an obturator bypass represents a potential alternative to local revision and arterial ligation alone. We report our experience with this approach.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: From January 1999 until December 2005 twelve drug addicts were treated due to arterial infections in the groin. In eight patients (seven men, one woman, 31 years old on average), the defect in the artery could not be repaired and ligation of the femoral vessels led to critical ischemia. Therefore, an iliaco-popliteal bypass via the foramen obturatorium was implanted either primarily or secondarily. In three patients a cryopreserved homologous vein was used, five patients received alloplastic grafts.

RESULTS: Four of eight obturator bypasses were implanted primarily. In the other four patients the initial treatment was limited to local debridement and artery ligation and an obturator bypass was implanted at a later date. Two grafts occluded within the first 30 days. Thereof one was successful thrombectomized. The other patient had no critical ischemia and he refused further surgery. Three more grafts occluded at 74, 90 and 103 days after surgery. No patient demonstrated signs of graft infection and all groin incisions healed uneventfully. A lower limb amputation became necessary in one patient even though the reconstruction was patent due to embolisation of mycotic material. All patients remained drug dependent throughout the followup time which was 3 months on average and ranged from one to 40 months.

CONCLUSIONS: The patency of obturator bypasses was 75% at one month. This appears low, especially if one considers the youthful age of the patients and the absence of arterial occlusive disease. Nevertheless, the amputation rate also remained low. Therefore, we feel that this technique may contribute to limb salvage in groin infections in drug addicts.

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