Background: Although mycotic aneurysms are rare in this age of antibiotics, they nevertheless represent life-threatening lesions of the aortic wall because of their high incidence of rupture and significantly high rate of recurrence.
Methods: Between March 1988 and August 1994, cryopreserved allograft material was used to treat 8 patients (mean age, 62.5 years; range, 47 to 80 years) with mycotic aneurysms of the thoracic aorta at our institution. Two patients had emergency operations; the other operations in 6 patients were elective. The aneurysms were located at the previous cannulation site of the aorta (n = 1) or at the donor/recipient aortic anastomosis (n = 1) in the patients who had heart transplantation, in the ascending aorta in 3 patients with aortic valve endocarditis, in the aortic arch in 2, and in the descending aorta in 1. The operative technique consisted of excision of the mycotic aneurysm followed by allograft patch reconstruction in 5 patients, an allograft composite graft replacement of the ascending aorta in 2 patients with endocarditis, and combined aortic allograft root replacement and allograft patch reconstruction of the ascending aorta in 1 patient.
Results: The underlying infections of the aorta were treated successfully in 6 patients. One heart transplant recipient had reoperation because of recurrent mycotic aneurysm after allograft patch reconstruction at the donor/recipient anastomosis. There was one early death involving a patient with Salmonella sp sepsis.
Conclusions: The use of aortic allograft material for repairing mycotic aortic aneurysms is a promising and effective operative concept for managing thoracic aortic infections.