Early and late outcome after carotid artery bypass grafting with saphenous vein

C Lauder, A Kelly, M M Thompson, N J M London, P R F Bell, A R Naylor
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2003, 38 (5): 1025-30

OBJECTIVES: This study was undertaken to determine outcome and durability of internal carotid artery bypass grafting with saphenous vein.

METHODS: Data for 50 patients undergoing serial clinical and ultrasound surveillance were collected prospectively and analyzed retrospectively.

RESULTS: Bypass grafting was performed in 50 patients between 1995 and 2002, the commonest reasons being excessive endarterectomy zone thinning or penetrating atheroma (n = 22), severe internal carotid artery coiling above the endarterectomy zone (n = 14), and patch infection (n = 5). Perioperative mortality was 2%, and death and stroke rate was 6%. Perioperative complications were associated with complex cardiovascular events, including hemorrhage after prosthetic patch infection, on-table thrombosis after endarterectomy, and synchronous carotid artery-cardiac reconstruction. One patient had a late ipsilateral stroke (10 months; normal scan). Cumulative stroke-free survival at 3 years (including operative events) was 91%. Cumulative freedom from recurrent stenosis greater than 70% or occlusion was 86% at 1 year and 83% at 3 years. Severe recurrent stenosis or occlusion developed in 7 patients, within 9 months of surgery in 6 patients and with 18 months in 1 patient. Angioplasty was performed without complication (no protection device, no stent) in 5 patients, 3 of whom required repeat angioplasty on at least one further occasion.

CONCLUSIONS: In common with venous conduits elsewhere, carotid artery bypass grafting with saphenous vein is associated with a high incidence of early graft stenosis. The long-term stroke risk, however, is low. Carotid artery bypass grafting is a safe and durable alternative when endarterectomy would prove hazardous or inadvisable, but regular surveillance is necessary.

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