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The Small Saphenous Vein: An Underestimated Source for Autologous Distal Vein Bypass.

OBJECTIVES: The small saphenous vein (SSV) is a potential vein source for bypass if neither greater saphenous vein nor arm vein is available. This study reports experience using SSV as part of an all autologous vein bypass policy.

METHODS: This study comprised single centre retrospective data analysis of all consecutive patients treated at an academic tertiary referral centre from January 1998 to February 2017 using the SSV as the main peripheral bypass graft. Study endpoints were primary patency, secondary patency, limb salvage, and survival.

RESULTS: One hundred and twenty operations were performed in 118 patients using SSV. Indications were peripheral arterial occlusive disease (n = 91; Rutherford classification 3: n = 11; 4: n = 21; 5,6: n = 59), acute ischaemia (n = 14), popliteal artery aneurysm (n = 12), and bypass revisions (n = 3). Median follow up was 30.5 months (10 months-13.7 years). Primary patency after one, three and five years was 68% (CI: 59-77%), 58% (49-68%), and 54% (45-64%). Secondary patency was 83% (76-89%) after one year and 77% (69-85%) after three and five years. Limb salvage after one year was 88% (82-94%) and 78% (70-86%) after five years. Survival was 96% (92-99%) after one year and 91% (85-97%) at five years. Multivariable analysis identified redo surgery as an independent risk factor. Patients receiving a primary (n = 59) vs. a redo bypass (n = 61) were compared. Primary patency and secondary patency were both significantly better in the primary bypass group than in the redo group (p = .0036 and p = .0003, respectively). Limb salvage was also significantly better in primary bypass patients than in the redo group (p = .0007), whereas overall survival did not differ significantly (p = .48).

CONCLUSION: The SSV is a valuable alternative vein graft in peripheral bypass surgery. It achieves excellent long-term results, particularly in patients with primary procedures but also acceptable results in patients with redo surgery.

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