The influence of graft type on patency of infrainguinal arterial bypass grafts.
ABSTRACT Between 1985 and 1992, 328 patients underwent 392 infrainguinal reconstructions. Indications for operation were disabling claudication in 126 patients, critical limb ischemia in 246 and uncomplicated popliteal aneurysm in 20. Grafts were to the above knee popliteal artery in 134 patients, below knee popliteal artery in 176 and infrapopliteal ("distal") in 82 patients. Graft types included 160 reversed saphenous vein (RSV), 95 polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), 84 nonreversed saphenous vein (NRSV), 41 composite grafts (PTFE plus vein) and 12 others. Results show the five year patency rate for all grafts of 58 percent and limb salvage (for limb ischemia) of 74 percent. Above knee and below knee popliteal grafts (three year patency rates of 72 and 66 percent) performed significantly better than distal grafts (51 percent three year patency rate, p < 0.025). NRSV grafts comprised 63 ex situ ("translocated") and 21 in situ grafts. No significant difference was shown between these (two year patency rates of 62 and 65 percent). There was no significant difference between RSV and NRSV grafts in this series, although RSV tended to show higher patency rates. Composite grafts (below knee, three year patency rate of 45 percent) had significantly lower three year patency rates than below knee RSV (79 percent, p < 0.005). RSV remains the conduit of choice in this unit, with long term patency comparable with other published series. Use of NRSV (translocated and in situ) allows increased use of autogenous vein with the associated higher patency rates compared with prosthetic materials and is the graft of choice if the long saphenous vein is not suitable for use in the standard reversed method. The translocated technique allows more flexibility in the use of nonreversed vein with results comparable with the in situ technique. Composite grafts provide a useful alternative to PTFE alone for infrageniculate grafting when insufficient autogenenous vein is available.