Objectives: We sought to determine the long-term results of revision procedures performed for repair of stenotic lesions in infrainguinal vein bypass grafts.
Methods: A retrospective review of 188 vein grafts, from a total series of 1260 bypasses, undergoing revision of stenotic lesions between January 1, 1987, and December 31, 2002, at Brigham & Women's Hospital was undertaken. Lesions were identified by recurrence of symptoms, change in examination findings, or with routine duplex ultrasound graft surveillance. Demographic and medical risk factors, and surgical variables were analyzed with respect to patency outcomes after the initial graft revision, with descriptive statistics, logistic regression, and life table analysis. Primary and secondary patency rates were determined from the time of graft revision.
Results: Patients included 108 men (57%) and 80 women (42%) who underwent revision at a mean age of 67.8 years. One hundred thirty grafts required only a single revision, whereas 58 required subsequent additional revisions. Revision procedures included 99 vein patches (52.7%), 23 jump grafts (12.2%), 23 interposition grafts (12.2%), 8 transpositions to new outflow vessels (4.3%), and 35 balloon angioplasty procedures (18.6%). During a mean follow-up of 1535 days, 5-year primary patency rate was 49.3% +/- 4.5% (SE) and 5-year secondary patency rate was 80.3% +/- 3.6%. There was no difference in patency rate for different revision procedures, type of vein graft, indication for the original procedure, or for patients with diabetes mellitus or renal disease. The overall limb salvage rate was 83.2% +/- 3.5% 5 years after graft revision. With COX proportional hazard analysis of time to failure of the revision procedure, the outflow level of the original bypass and the time of revision proved to be an important predictor of durability of the graft revision. Revision of popliteal bypass grafts resulted in a 60% 5-year primary patency rate, whereas revision of tibial grafts resulted in a 42% 5-year primary patency rate (P = .004; hazard ratio [HR], 2.06). Five-year secondary patency rates were 90% and 76%, respectively (P = .009; HR = 3.43). The timing of the graft revision proved an additional predictor. Grafts revised within 6 months of the index operation had lower primary patency than those with later revisions (42.9% vs 80.7%, respectively; HR = 1.754; P = .0152).
Conclusions: Vein graft revisions offer durable patency and limb salvage rates after repair of stenotic infrainguinal bypass grafts. Vigilant ongoing surveillance is essential, because 30.9% of revised grafts will develop additional lesions that will require repair. Tibial level bypass grafts that require early repeat intervention to treat graft stenosis are at particular risk for development of subsequent lesions.