JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Intraoperative duplex monitoring of infrainguinal vein bypass procedures.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate intraoperative duplex scanning of infrainguinal vein bypass grafts to detect technical and hemodynamic problems, monitor their repair, and correlate findings with the incidence of thrombosis and stenosis repair rates within 90 days of operation.

METHODS: Color duplex scanning was used at operation to assess vein/anastomotic patency and velocity spectra waveforms of 626 infrainguinal vein bypass grafts (in situ saphenous, 228 grafts; nonreversed translocated saphenous, 170 grafts; reversed saphenous, 147 grafts; alternative [arm, lesser saphenous], 81 grafts) to the popliteal (n = 267 grafts), infrageniculate (n = 323 grafts), or pedal artery (n = 36 grafts). The entire bypass graft was scanned after intragraft injection of papaverine hydrochloride (30-60 mg) to augment graft flow. Vein/anastomotic/artery segments with velocity spectra that indicate highly disturbed flow (peak systolic velocity, >180 cm/sec; spectral broadening; velocity ratio at site, >3) were revised. Grafts with a low peak systolic velocity less than 30 to 40 cm/s and high outflow resistance (absent diastolic flow) underwent procedures (distal arteriovenous fistula, sequential bypass grafting) to augment flow; if this was not possible, the grafts were treated with an antithrombotic regimen, including heparin, dextran, and antiplatelet therapy.

RESULTS: Duplex scanning prompted revision of 104 lesions in 96 (15%) bypass grafts, including 82 vein/anastomotic stenoses, 17 vein segments with platelet thrombus, and 5 low-flow grafts. Revision rate was highest (P <.01) for alternative vein bypass grafts (27%) compared with the other grafting methods (reversed vein bypass grafts, 10%; nonreversed translocated, 13%; in situ, 16%). A normal intraoperative scan on initial imaging (n = 464 scans) or after revision (n = 67 scans) was associated with a 30-day thrombosis rate of 0.2% and a revision rate of 0.8% for duplex-detected stenosis (peak systolic velocity, >300 cm/s; velocity ratio, >3.5). By comparison, 20 of 95 bypass grafts (21%) with a residual (n = 29 grafts) or unrepaired duplex stenosis (n = 53 grafts) or low flow (n = 13 grafts) had a corrective procedure for graft thrombosis (n = eight grafts) or stenosis (n = 12 grafts; P <.001). Overall, 8% of patients with bypass grafts underwent a corrective procedure within 90 days of operation. Secondary graft patency was 99.4% at 30 days and 98.8% at 90 days (eight graft failures).

CONCLUSION: The observed 15% intraoperative revision rate coupled with a low 90-day failure/revision rate (2.5%) for bypasses with normal papaverine-augmented duplex scans supports the routine use of this diagnostic modality to enhance the precision and early results of infrainguinal vein bypass procedures.

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