Progress in cardiovascular anastomoses: will the vascular join replace Carrel's technique?

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2006 Sep;30(3):425-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcts.2006.05.029. Epub 2006 Jul 20.


Background: Vascular reconstructions are becoming challenging due to the comorbidity of the aging population and since the introduction of minimally invasive approaches. Many sutureless anastomosis devices have been designed to facilitate the cardiovascular surgeon's work and the vascular join (VJ) is one of these. We designed an animal study to assess its reliability and long-term efficacy.

Methods: VJ allows the construction of end-to-end and end-to-side anastomoses. It consists of two metallic crowns fixed to the extremity of the two conduits so that vessel edges are joined layer by layer. There is no foreign material exposed to blood. In adult sheep both carotid arteries were prepared and severed. End-to-end anastomoses were performed using the VJ device on one side and the classical running suture technique on the other side. Animals were followed-up with Duplex-scan every 3 months and sacrificed after 12 months. Histopathological analysis was carried out.

Results: In 20 animals all 22 sutureless anastomoses were successfully completed in less than 2 min versus 6 +/- 3 min for running suture. Duplex showed the occlusion of three controls and one sutureless anastomosis. Two controls and one sutureless had stenosis >50%. Histology showed very thin layer of myointimal hyperplasia (50 +/- 10 microm) in the sutureless group versus 300 +/- 27 microm in the control. No significant inflammatory reaction was detected.

Conclusions: VJ provides edge-to-edge vascular repair that can be considered the most physiological way to restore vessel continuity. For the first time, in healthy sheep, an anastomotic device provided better results than suture technique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical / instrumentation
  • Anastomosis, Surgical / methods
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / surgery
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / surgery*
  • Equipment Design
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Sheep
  • Sutures
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography