Aortic Graft Infection

One rare but potential complication of treatment of aortic aneurysms, dissection or artery blockages is infection of the graft’s synthetic material. Usually caused by staphylococcus bacteria, these infections can spread throughout the body leading to sepsis, organ failure, and amputations. Infected aortic grafts are life-threatening if left untreated.

At the Frankel Cardiovascular Center you will receive expert follow up care and close monitoring to prevent complications such as aortic graft infection.


Symptoms of an aortic graft infection can be vague and relatively nonspecific. They include:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Chest, back or abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea or vomiting

More serious symptoms may include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Blood infection
  • False aneurysms


Aortic graft infections can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Bacterial or fungal contamination during surgery
  • Bacterial spread from the bloodstream
  • Poor wound healing
  • A weakened immune system
  • Poor hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes


The diagnosis of an aortic graft infection typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. These tests may include:

  • Blood tests to determine the presence of infection and identify the specific source.
  • Imaging tests such as CT scans, X-rays or MRI to visualize the graft and surrounding tissue.
  • Wound cultures to collect a sample of fluid or tissue from the graft site for laboratory analysis.
  • Endovascular ultrasound to examine the inside of the graft.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to obtain a definitive diagnosis and to allow for appropriate treatment. The diagnosis of an aortic graft infection requires a multidisciplinary approach, involving a team of healthcare professionals such as a cardiothoracic surgeon, infectious disease specialist, and radiologist.


The treatment of an aortic graft infection typically involves a combination of antibiotics and surgical intervention. The specific treatment plan will depend on the type and severity of the infection, as well as your overall health.

Some common treatments may include:

  • Antibiotics to clear the infection
  • Surgery to remove infected tissue and clean the infected area
  • In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the infected graft and replace it with a new one.

In severe cases of aortic graft infection, treatment may also involve a combination of long-term antibiotics and close monitoring to ensure the infection is effectively controlled. The goal of treatment is to prevent the spread of infection, eliminate its cause, and preserve the function of the aortic graft.

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment to discuss arteriosclerotic aortic disease or any other cardiovascular condition, call us at 888-287-1082 or visit our Make a Cardiovascular Appointment page, where you can view other details about scheduling an appointment and learn what to expect when you call us.