Skip to main content

The effect of distal sepsis on arterial grafts: An experimental study


Prosthetic infection following recon-structive vascular operations is an infrequent but often fatal complication which generally persists until the graft is removed. It is accepted that infection arises from operative contamination, bacteraemic seeding or an abscess or a viscus eroding into the graft. This study investigates the role played by distal limb sepsis on arterial grafts placed in the groin of experimental animals.

Ten dogs had a specific strain of staphylococcus aureus inoculated onto a surgical wound in the right foot pad. Five days later interposition 6 mm Dacron grafts were implanted into the insilateral and contralateral groin in continuity with the superficial femoral artery. Ten days following this the grafts were removed for bacteriological and histological examinations. Blood cultures and lympnode cultures were also taken at this time.

In seven dogs the specific staph. aureus was recovered from the graft on the side of distal sepsis. In one dog the staph. aureus was grown from both grafts. Three dogs failed to grow the specific staph. aureus from either graft. These results are significant at 1% level using Fischer’s exact test.

Blood cultures grew staph. aureus from only one dog. Lymphnode cultures yielded the specific staph. aureus in seven dogs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Cheek, R. C., Cole, F. H., Smith, H. F. 1974. Comparison of Dacron and aortic autografts in wounds contaminated with faecal material. Am. Surg. 40, 439–442.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Ehrenfeld, W. K., Wibur, B. B., Olcott, C. M. 1979. Autogenous tissue reconstruction in the management of infected prosthetic grafts. Surg. 85, 82–92.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Evans, C., Pollack, A. V. 1973. The reduction of surgical wound infection by prophylactic parenteral cephaloridine. Br. J. Surg. 60, 434.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fry, W. J., Lindenauer, S. M. 1976. Infection complicating the use of plastic arterial implants. Arch. Surg. 94, 600–609.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldstone, J., Moore, W. S. 1974. Infection in vascular prosthesis. Clinical manifestations and surgical management. Am. J. Surg. 128, 225–233.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Malone, J. M., Moore, W. S. 1975. Bacteraemic infectability of vascular grafts. Surg. 78, 211–216.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Porter, J. M., Lindell, T. D., Larkin, P. C. 1972. Leg oedema following femoropopliteal autogenous vein bypass. Arch. Surg. 105, 883–888.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pitt, H. A., Postier, R. G. 1980. Prophylactic antibiotics in vascular surgery. Ann. Surg. 192, 356–364.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Szilagyi, D. E., Smith, R. F., Elliott, J. P. 1972. Infection of arterial reconstruction with synthetic grafts. Ann. Surg. 176, 321–322.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sszilagyi, D. E., Elliott, J. P. 1977. Anti-biotic prophylaxis in vascular grafting. In Infections of Prosthetic Heart Valves and Vascular Grafts. Ed.: R. J. Duma. Baltimore, University Park Press, pp. 323–342.

    Google Scholar 

  • Webber, T. R., Lindenauer, S. M., Miller, T. A. 1976. Focal infection of aorto-femoral prosthesis. Sur. 79, 310–312.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tanner, W.A., Acton, D., Moorehouse, E.C. et al. The effect of distal sepsis on arterial grafts: An experimental study. I.J.M.S. 153, 166–169 (1984).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: