- The possibility of intravascular infection should be considered in all critically ill patients with bacteremia or fungemia of uncertain origin, particularly when there are known intravascular or endocardial abnormalities or intravascular devices; fever or hemodynamic instability of unclear origin; or signs of inflammation related to an indwelling intravascular device.
- Blood cultures are the most important diagnostic test for this group of infections because most intravascular infections will result in persistent bacteremia or fungemia.
- Successful therapy often requires prolonged administration of microbicidal agents plus removal of devices.
- Certain microbes, including staphylococci, enterococci, aerobic gram-negative bacilli, and yeasts, are especially likely to cause intravascular infectious disease.
Patients hospitalized in ICUs may have an intravascular infectious disorder as their primary problem, as a complication of their main disorder, or as a nosocomial infection occurring during their stay. Specific populations common to the ICU, including hemodialysis patients, injection drug users, HIV-infected patients, and those with congenital heart disease, are at increased risk of intravascular infection. Furthermore, violation of anatomic barriers by indwelling intravascular devices and by surgery, as well as impairment of cellular or humoral immune function related to critical illness, contributes to invasion by a variety of microbial pathogens. Infections of intravascular foreign bodies or native vascular structures themselves are likely to be associated not only with symptoms and signs of local inflammation but also with evidence of disseminated disease due to metastatic spread of infectious agents. This chapter provides the clinician caring for patients in an ICU with an approach to the patient with suspected or proved intravascular infectious disorders. We will emphasize the underlying clinical situations that predispose to intravascular infection, the pathogenesis of the disorders, the symptoms and signs of disease, and the appropriate diagnostic procedures, particularly those that provide assistance in the choice of antimicrobial therapy and selection of ancillary medical and surgical procedures. Table 49-1 lists the intravascular infections of native vessels and those associated with intravascular devices, respectively.
Table 49–1. Intravascular Infection of Native Vessels and Implanted Intravascular Devices |Favorite Table|Download (.pdf)
Table 49–1. Intravascular Infection of Native Vessels and Implanted Intravascular Devices
|Medium and large arteries||Mycotic aneurysm||Abdominal aortic aneurysms; various sites complicating endocarditis|
|Intracranial||Cavernous sinus thrombosis||Follows facial cellulitis, Staphylococcus aureus common etiology|
|Heart and major vessels||Native-valve endocarditis||Usually occurs at site of prior endocardial damage|
|Prosthetic-valve endocarditis||Risk of infection on mitral equals aortic valve risk|
|Permanent pacemaker infection||Risks include diabetes, malignancy, corticosteroid use, bacteremia, or skin erosion over generator box|
|Arterial graft infection||Increased risk if graft crosses groin; risk greatest in first year after placement|
|Head and neck venous structures||Postanginal sepsis||Fusobacterium, Bacteroides common; metastatic disease frequent|
|Pelvic veins||Pelvic vein thrombophlebitis||Following septic abortion, pelvic inflammatory disease in women|
|Portal veins||Pylephlebitis||Complication of intra-abdominal abscess; perforated appendix, peridiverticular abscess, etc.|
Infective Endocarditis on a Native Valve