The correlation of early flow disturbances with the development of infrainguinal graft stenosis: A 10-year study of 341 autogenous vein grafts

D. M. Ihnat, J. L. Mills, David L Dawson, J. D. Hughes, R. T. Hagino, C. A. DeMaioribus, A. T. Gentile, A. Westerband, J. D. Baker, D. M. Ihnat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although duplex surveillance of infrainguinal bypass grafts is widely accepted, the optimal frequency and intensity of graft surveillance remains controversial. Earlier reports have suggested that grafts can be stratified into high-risk and low-risk groups based on the presence or absence of early graft flow disturbances. The purpose of this study was to provide long-term data in determining whether early graft flow disturbances detected by means of duplex scanning can predict the development of intrinsic vein graft stenosis. Methods: We reviewed a series of patients undergoing prospective duplex graft surveillance after autogenous infrainguinal bypass grafting procedures from 1987 to 1997. Patients included in the study underwent at least one duplex scan within 3 months of graft implantation and were observed for a minimum of 6 months. Grafts were categorized as abnormal when a focal flow disturbance with a peak systolic velocity greater than 150 cm/s was identified within 3 months of graft implantation. Results: Of 341 vein grafts in 296 patients who met inclusion criteria, 89 grafts (26%) required revision for intrinsic stenosis; the mean follow-up period was 35 months (range, 6 months to 10 years). Early flow disturbances were detected in 84 (25%) grafts. Grafts with early flow disturbances were more likely to ultimately require revision (43% vs 21%; P = .0001) and required initial revision earlier (8 months vs 16 months; P = .019). Eighty-two percent of initial graft revisions occurred in the first 2 postoperative years; 69% occurred in the first year. However, an annual 2% to 4% incidence of late appearing graft stenosis persisted during long-term follow-up. An additional 24 patients (7% of grafts) required an inflow or outflow reconstruction. Conclusion: Grafts with early postoperative flow disturbances detected by means of duplex scanning have nearly three times the incidence of graft- threatening stenosis and an earlier requirement for revision, when compared with normal grafts. This suggests that the biology and etiology of these lesions may differ. These data support not only aggressive efforts to detect early graft lesions to stratify grafts at highest risk, but also continued lifelong graft surveillance to detect late-appearing lesions, inflow and outflow disease progression, and maximize graft patency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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