Vascular Infections and Complications

Vascular Infections and Complications

Vascular infections are infections of arteries or veins. Bacteria, fungi, or viruses are responsible for producing vascular infections. The main route through which vascular infection occurs is the surgery of vessels especially if a vessel is replaced, bypassed, or patched. Vascular infection can also occur from an infection elsewhere in the body such as an infection of the urinary tract. The infection from other parts can travel through the blood. Therefore, vascular infection must be addressed immediately. Vascular infections should be treated by experts else they can lead to several other complications.

Types of vascular infections

Vascular infections can be divided into three types depending on the extent of inflammation. The three types of vascular infections are:

  • Superficial
  • Deep
  • Mixed type

Superficial: The superficial infection is a type of infection that is limited to the skin and the subcutaneous tissue.
Deep: Deep infection is a type of infection that travels to the vessels or prosthetic graft.
Mixed: The mixed infection is a type of infection that affects the tissue layers and can produce a trauma disruption.

Vascular infections can also be classified based on the duration of the development of the infection. It is said to be early if infection occurs within less than 4 weeks after implantation of the graft and late if the infection occurs after 4 weeks of implantation of the graft.

Causes of vascular infections

The most common cause of vascular infections is when a graft or a stent graft is placed in a vessel. A staphylococcus bacterium is a common pathogen that contaminates the skin during surgery. Infection can travel from your bloodstream from infection in the body parts such as heart valves or urinary tract infections.

Symptoms of vascular infections

Vascular infections can occur after several months or years after surgery. The common symptoms of vascular infections include the following:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Body pains
  • Sweating

If you had recent vascular surgery, you can notice possible discharge at the site of surgery. The discharge may be thick and foul-smelling.

Diagnosis of vascular infections

You can consult with a doctor at the CARE Hospitals for the diagnosis of vascular infections. The doctor will order some blood tests. Other tests such as a CT scan and ultrasound scan can help to find out the location of the infection.

  • Angiography

Angiography may be recommended to detect any blockage in the blood vessels. In this test, a dye is injected through a think tube.

  • Arterial duplex ultrasound for arms and legs

Arterial duplex ultrasound helps to assess the flow of blood in the arteries of arms and legs. It uses Doppler and traditional ultrasound to detect the abnormality in the blood flow in arms and legs.

  • CT (Computerised tomography) Scan

CT Scan helps to create a three-dimensional image of your heart and blood vessels.

  • MRI (Magnetic resonance Imaging)

MRI uses radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your blood vessels and heart.

  • Pulse volume recording

This test is done to evaluate the flow of blood in the arteries of the arms and legs. It helps in determining the blockage of blood flow.

Treatment for vascular infections

The doctor at the CARE Hospitals offers the best possible treatment for vascular infections. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics for vascular infections.

Some people may need surgery to remove or replace the infected blood vessel and prevent further infection. If an infected graft in an artery or vein is not removed, it will cause decay of the vessel and will break open, causing excess bleeding and potentially loss of an arm or a leg in some cases it could prove to be fatal and can lead to death.

Complications of vascular infections

Vascular infections can result in severe complications if not treated on time. Therefore, a person must monitor the signs of infection after vascular surgery. If a person notices any signs of infection such as fever, chills, discharge from the site, etc. he/she should immediately report to the surgeon.

The main complications of vascular infections include rupture of the blood vessel, septic haemorrhage, and formation of pseudoaneurysm.

In many cases, the limb where the infected vessel is located may have to be amputated to save other organs and prevent infection to the other parts of the body.

If the infection is not treated on time, it could prove to be fatal and can ultimately lead to death.

Tips to prevent vascular infections

People undergoing vascular surgery must take some precautions to prevent vascular infections. They must follow the instructions given by the doctor post-surgery:

  • Clean your skin before and after vascular surgery
  • Take your medicines regularly as prescribed by the doctor
  • Take care of the incision as directed by your doctor after surgery
  • If you notice any discharge from the incision site or experience fever and chills, consult with your surgeon immediately.

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