An infected aneurysm (also known as mycotic aneurysm or microbial arteritis) is an aneurysm arising from bacterial infection of the arterial wall. It can be a common complication of the hematogenous spread of bacterial infection.
William Osler first used the term "mycotic aneurysm" in 1885 to describe a mushroom-shaped aneurysm in a patient with subacute bacterial endocarditis. This may create considerable confusion, since "mycotic" is typically used to define fungal infections. However, mycotic aneurysm is still used for all extracardiac or intracardiac aneurysms caused by infections, except for syphilitic aortitis.
The term "infected aneurysm," proposed by Jarrett and associates is more appropriate, since few infections involve fungi. According to some authors, a more accurate term might have been endovascular infection or infective vasculitis, because mycotic aneurysms are not due to a fungal organism.
Mycotic aneurysms account for 2.6% of aortic aneurysms. For the clinician, early diagnosis is the cornerstone of effective treatment. Without medical or surgical management, catastrophic hemorrhage or uncontrolled sepsis may occur. However, symptomatology is frequently nonspecific during the early stages, so a high index of suspicion is required to make the diagnosis.
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