Background: The superficial femoral vein (SFV) is a well-established alternative conduit for infra-inguinal reconstructivenous hypertension after SFV harvest may however result in significant morbidity. This study reports the efficiency of SFV as conduit for infra-inguinal reconstructions and characterize the anatomic and physiologic changes in harvest limbs and their relationship to the development of venous complications.
Methods: From May 1999 through November 2003, 23 SFV were harvested from 21 patients undergoing infra-inguinal reconstructions. Bypasses were controlled by regular duplex-ultrasound. The venous morbidity was assessed by measurements of leg circumferences, strain-gauge plethysmography and quality of life, investigated by the VEINES-QOL scale.
Results: At a mean follow-up of 10.4 months (range 1-56), primary, secondary patency and limb salvage rates of infra-inguinal bypasses using SFV are 71.4%, 76.2% and 85.7% respectively. No patient had major venous claudication. Oedema was significantly present in nine patients. Strain-gauge plethysmography showed outflow obstruction in all patients. The VEINES-QOL assessment showed no limitation in social and domestic activity, moderate complain about leg heaviness despite presence of oedema.
Conclusion: The SFV harvest is a reliable conduit for infra-inguinal reconstructions and results in moderate venous morbidity in terms of functional consequences and quality of life.