Prospective validation of threshold criteria for intervention in infrainguinal vein grafts undergoing duplex surveillance

Alex Westerband, Joseph L. Mills, Sherry Kistler, Scott S. Berman, Glenn C. Hunter, John M. Marek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Although color flow duplex surveillance (CFDS) of infrainguinal vein grafts has gained wide acceptance, definitive criteria mandating graft revision remain to be established. We prospectively evaluated 101 infrainguinal vein grafts undergoing CFDS in order to validate threshold duplex criteria for intervention which were derived from our previous experience and that reported by others. Complete CFDS of the bypass conduit and adjacent inflow and outflow arteries and Doppler-derived ankle brachial indices (ABI) were obtained every 3 months x 4 and every 6 months thereafter. The following threshold criteria mandating further evaluation and intervention to prevent graft occlusion were applied: high-velocity criteria (HVC) defined as peak systolic velocity (PSV) >300 cm/sec and velocity ratio (Vr) >3.5; low-velocity criteria (LVC) defined as PSV <45 cm/sec; an ABI decrease >0.15. Fifty-one grafts had normal serial CFDS and ABI; none subsequently occluded or required revision. Stenosis was detected by CFDS in 43 grafts (PSV > 180 cm/sec, Vr > 1.5). Within this subgroup, 54% of grafts subsequently required revision (20/43) or occluded (3/43). All grafts in this subgroup with stenoses progressed to PSV > 300 or Vr > 3.5 prior to revision or occlusion. Ten lesions (23%) regressed spontaneously without intervention (mean PSV 252 cm/sec, mean Vr 3.2); 10 lesions (23%) are stable, nonprogressive, and remain under surveillance. Two grafts were abnormal by LVC; one was successfully revised, the other occluded prior to intervention. Five grafts had normal CFDS and ABI decrease >0.15. Four were revised (three inflow lesions, one outflow lesion) and one occluded (missed lesion by CFDS). Only five graft occlusions occurred in the entire series: three grafts met HVC and occluded prior to intervention; one developed an ABI drop of 0.4 due to graft stenosis missed by CFDS and uncovered following thrombolysis, and the other graft met LVC and occluded prior to intervention. Infrainguinal vein grafts with normal serial CFDS and ABI are at minimal risk of spontaneous graft occlusion. When CFDS is abnormal (PSV > 180 cm/sec, Vr > 1.5), over 50% of grafts will ultimately require revision or progress to occlusion. Grafts with such lesions can be safely monitored by CFDS until progression to lesions meeting HVC occurs with minimal risk of graft occlusion. A decrease in ABI >0.15 with normal CFDS mandates arteriography to identify inflow and outflow lesions or a missed graft stenosis. The present study prospectively validates threshold intervention criteria for graft lesions meeting HVC (PSV > 300 cm/sec, Vr > 3.5), LVC (PSV < 45 cm/sec throughout graft) or an ABI decrease >0.15.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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