The origin of infrainguinal vein graft stenosis: A prospective study based on duplex surveillance

Joseph L. Mills, Dennis F. Bandyk, Vivian Gahtan, Glenn E. Esses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the origin of vein graft lesions and their propensity for progression based on prospective duplex surveillance of 135 infrainguinal vein bypasses. Methods: One hundred sixteen greater saphenous, 13 spliced, five cephalic, and one superficial femoral vein grafts were evaluated by color duplex imaging at surgical procedure, 1 and 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months, and every 3 to 6 months thereafter. Duplex-identified lesions were graded by peak systolic velocity and velocity ratio criteria and were either followed or subjected to revision. Results: Early postoperative duplex surveillance allowed stratification of infrainguinal grafts into two subsets. Of 91 (67%) grafts with normal early scans (at 3 months), only two (2.2%) developed de novo stenoses (at 6 and 8 months) that required revision. Forty-four grafts with abnormal duplex scans had a focal flow abnormality (peak systolic velocity >150 cm/sec, velocity ratio >1.5) in the graft body ( n = 24) or anastomotic region ( n = 20). In 14 grafts the flow abnormality (mean peak systolic velocity = 217 cm/sec, velocity ratio = 2.3) normalized. Ten additional grafts exhibited a moderate, persistent graft stenosis (mean peak systolic velocity 248 cm/sec, velocity ratio = 3.3) that was not repaired. All 20 grafts with lesions that progressed to high-grade stenosis (mean peak systolic velocity = 362 cm/sec, velocity ratio = 7.2) and were revised had a residual flow abnormality confirmed at operation, or it appeared by 6 weeks. In the entire series six (4.4%) grafts failed during the mean 12-month follow-up interval (range 3 to 30 months), 4 with unrepaired defects and two after revision. Conclusions: Prospective duplex surveillance verified that de novo graft stenosis was uncommon (<2.2%) after reversed and in situ saphenous vein bypass grafting. Graft stenoses developed at sites of unrepaired defects or early appearing conduit abnormalities. An early appearing duplex focal flow abnormality warranted careful surveillance, because one half of such sites progressed to a high-grade stenosis. Grafts with normal early duplex scans exhibited a low incidence of stenosis development or occlusion, and thus less intense postoperative surveillance can be recommended. (J VASC SURG 1995;21:16-25.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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