Case report: Vascular graft infection due to Aspergillus species presenting with recurrent vascular occlusion
BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2022 Apr 1;22(1):138. doi: 10.1186/s12872-022-02571-3.
BACKGROUND: An aortic graft implantation is an effective therapeutic method for various aortic diseases. However, it is known that sometimes these implanted grafts can be the foci of infections. Here we report a rare case of graft infection that presented multiple embolisms of aortic branches and peripheral organs.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 63-year-old Japanese woman with a history of aortic graft implantation presented with occlusions of large arteries in different loci and time points, with elevation of non-specific inflammatory markers. Thoracic contrast-computed tomography (CT) captured vegetation in the descending aortic graft and the [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography ([18F]FDG PET/CT) showed accumulation of FDG in the same site, suggesting a graft infection. Despite all these suspicious findings, repeated blood culture examinations never detected any microorganisms. A diagnosis of Aspergillus graft infection was made based on an elevated serum β-D glucan (βDG) and a positive Aspergillus galactomannan (GM) antigen test. The patient subsequently had surgery with replacement of the descending aortic graft and anti-fungal drugs were instituted with significant improvement noted.
CONCLUSION: In the present case, the patient’s specific feature in the anatomical vascular construction, past operation, and basal fundamental diseases collaboratively contributed to the pathogenesis of the present infection. It is important to recognize the risk of graft infection and conduct imaging studies when indicative symptoms emerge. The negativity in blood culture studies often makes detection of pathogenic microbes extremely difficult. This case suggests that non-cultural tests such as bDG and GM can be useful for diagnosis and starting appropriate anti-fungal drugs in the early stages.