Postoperative infection of the ascending aorta and aortic arch in 40 patients was treated by antibiotic therapy alone (4 patients) or by operation and lifelong suppressive antibiotic therapy (36 patients). Complications of infection included antibiotic-resistant infection, infected false aneurysm, rupture of suture line, aortocutaneous fistulas, aortic-right ventricular fistulas, arterial embolus, aortic valve insufficiency, aortobronchial fistula, mediastinal abscess, and chest wall problems. These were treated by a variety of operations including composite valve-graft replacement, graft replacement, patch-graft closure of false aneurysm, simple suture of disrupted suture lines and false aneurysm, and debridement of mediastinum and chest wall. The area of reconstruction was covered, and mediastinal dead space was reduced by mobilization of viable tissue, including local tissue and distant structures such as flaps of muscle and omentum. Thirty-three patients (83%) were early survivors, and 28 patients (70%) were alive and well at last follow-up 4 months to 6.5 years after operation.