All currently used arterial prosthetics have a greater susceptibility to infection following bacteremia than does autogenous tissue. This experiment compares quantitative bacterial adherence to various prosthetic materials after bacteremia carried out in a tightly controlled and quantitative fashion. Ten centimeters long, 4 mm i.d. Dacron, umbilical vein (HUV), and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) grafts, as well as PTFE grafts with a running suture line at the midportion were tested. Each graft was interposed into a pulsatile perfusion system modified from a Waters MOX 100 TM renal transplant pump. Indium-111-labeled Staphylococcus aureus were added to heparinized canine blood to give a mean concentration of 4.7 × 106 bacteria/cc. This infected blood was recirculated through each graft for 30 min at a rate of 125 cc/m, 100 Torr (sys), 60 beats/min. The gamma counts/graft were used to calculate the number of bacteria/cm2 of graft surface. After nine experiments, a mean of 9.63 × 105 bacteria/cm2 were adherent to the Dacron, 1.04 × 105 bacteria/cm2 to the HUV, and 2.15 × 104 bacteria/cm2 to the PTFE. These differences were all significant at the 0.05 level. The addition of a suture line increased bacterial adherence to the PTFE graft by 50%. These results suggest that PTFE is the vascular graft material of choice when a prosthetic graft must be implanted despite a high risk of subsequent clinical bacteremia. Our in vitro, pulsatile perfusion model gave accurate and reproducible results, and appears well suited for further studies of bacterial, or platelet adherence to grafts, as well as the biomechanics of vascular conduits.
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