Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spontaneous Onset of Bacterial Cellulitis in Lower Limbs with Chronic Obstructive Venous Disease.

Spontaneous Onset of Bacterial Cellulitis in Lower Limbs with Chronic Obstructive Venous Disease.

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2008 Jun

Raju S, Tackett P Jr, Neglen P.
University of Mississippi Medical Center and River Oaks Hospital, Flowood, MS 39232, USA.

BACKGROUND: Cellulitis, often recurrent is a common complication of severe chronic venous disease (CVD) when dermatitis or ulcer is present. The skin breakdown obviously provides easy entry for bacteria but other factors such as edema and lymphatic dysfunction likely play a role in pathogenesis as well. An iliac obstructive lesion is commonly present and correction with stent(s) often heals dermatitis/ulcer and relieves cellulitis. The current manuscript focuses on a relatively infrequent "spontaneous" variety of cellulitis which also occurs in obstructive venous disease in the absence of overt skin breakdown. Stenting results are of particular interest in this subset because its therapeutic efficacy can be related to factors other than healing of dermatitis/ulceration (portal of entry).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: One thousand and nine limbs underwent iliac vein stenting for symptomatic CVD over a 7 year period; 29 limbs that were stented to treat spontaneous recurrent cellulitis of two or more prior attacks and 16 additional limbs with only one prior episode (stented for other indications) are analysed. Eighty two percent of the limbs had obvious swelling and the remainder had none at the time of stenting when cellulitis was inactive. Iliac vein outflow obstruction was found by intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and all limbs were stented.

RESULTS: Median age was 54 and male to female ratio 1:2. Aetiology of iliac obstruction was post-thrombotic in 33% and non-thrombotic in 67%. Preoperatively, lymphatic abnormalities were present in 17 (38%) of the limbs: no activity in 7, delayed flow in 8 and pooling of isotope in the lower leg in 2 limbs. Swelling and pain improved significantly after stent placement. Cumulative freedom from recurrent attacks of cellulitis was 76% at 3 years.

CONCLUSION: Iliac vein outflow obstruction may underlie CVD limbs afflicted with cellulitis. IVUS examination is recommended if cellulitis is recurrent and conventional therapy had failed. Correction of outflow obstruction by venous stent placement appears to yield moderate freedom from repeat infections in the near term.

Elsevier Science Direct

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