The affinity of rifampin to bond to Dacron permits implantation of a vascular prosthesis with anti-staphylococcal bioactivity. The performance of rifampin-bonded Dacron grafts was evaluated in vitro and in vivo to develop a bonding technique with optimal graft bioactivity which was then used for in situ reconstruction of a biofilm graft infection. In vitro bioactivity was measured at 24-hr intervals for three types of Dacron prostheses (plain, gelatin, and collagen-impregnated) exposed to rifampin at varied concentrations and immersion times. Gelatin-impregnated grafts demonstrated superior bioactivity (P < 0.05). Rifampin concentration and graft type had a greater effect on bioactivity than immersion time (P < 0.01). Gelatin-impregnated grafts immersed in a 60 mg/ml rifampin solution for 15 rain produced optimum bioactivity. Six grafts prepared in this fashion were used to replace the canine aorta. The level and duration of in vivo antistaphylococcal activity to Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis were less (P < 0.05) than those measured in vitro, but rifampin levels exceeded the study strain maximum inhibitory concentration for up to 48 hr. In a canine model, the rifampin-bonded gelatin-impregnated (N = 14) or nonbonded control (N = 10) grafts were used as in situ replacement for an established aortic graft infection caused by S. epidermidis. Replacement with a rifampin-bonded graft resulted in successful anatomic healing of perigraft and anastomotic tissue. Persistent biofilm colonization was confirmed in 8 of 10 controls versus 4 of 14 rifampin-bonded grafts (P < 0.02). Rifampin-bonding to Dacron grafts by passive absorption was practical and produced a minimum of 48 hr duration of in vivo antistaphylococcal activity. This level was sufficient to reduce prosthesis colonization when used for in situ replacement of a low-grade graft infection.
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