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. 2012 Oct;42(4):e74-9.
doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezs402. Epub 2012 Aug 19.

The Impact of Distension Pressure on Acute Endothelial Cell Loss and Neointimal Proliferation in Saphenous Vein Grafts

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The Impact of Distension Pressure on Acute Endothelial Cell Loss and Neointimal Proliferation in Saphenous Vein Grafts

Robert Stigler et al. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. .

Abstract

Objectives: We aimed to determine the extent of acute endothelial cell loss and neointimal proliferation in the long-term in saphenous vein grafts (SVGs) exposed to defined distension pressures.

Methods: During routine competence testing of SVGs for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), blinded peak pressure measurements were performed in 10 patients. In an experimental set-up, distension pressure-related endothelial damage was studied in the SVGs of 20 patients. In a subgroup (n = 10), each patient's SVG was divided into segments and subjected to four constant pressures (50, 100, 150 and 300 mmHg) for 30 min each. In another subgroup (n = 10), SVGs were exposed to a short phase of high pressure (low pressure followed by 300 mmHg for 5 min). Acute endothelial cell loss was quantified by CD31-immunostaining. After 2 weeks of organ culture, the neointimal proliferation was evaluated using histomorphometry. Pressure-related damage was compared with damage at baseline (0 mmHg).

Results: During routine competence testing for CABG, we revealed a median peak pressure of 355 mmHg (range: 240-639 mmHg). In the experimental set-up, significant acute endothelial cell loss occurred at all tested distension pressures: at 50 mmHg, the median endothelial cell loss was 29% (range: 20-51%, P = 0.015), at 100 mmHg 54% (range: 37-69%, P < 0.001), at 150 mmHg 75% (range: 41-88%, P < 0.001), at 300 mmHg 91% (range: 63-100%, P < 0.001) and at short high-pressure exposure 65% (range: 49-82%, P < 0.001) in comparison with 20% (range: 0-44%) at baseline. Significant neointimal proliferation occurred when a distension pressure of 50 mmHg was exceeded: at 50 mmHg, median neointimal proliferation was 97 µm (range: 60-380 µm, P = 0.176), at 100 mmHg 168 µm (range: 100-600 µm, P = 0.001), at 150 mmHg 183 µm (range: 160-440 µm, P < 0.001) at 300 mmHg 347 µm (range: 190-590 µm, P < 0.001) and at short high-pressure exposure 130 µm (range: 60-410 µm, P = 0.02) in comparison with 90 µm (range: 60-170 µm) at baseline.

Conclusions: In vitro exposure of SVGs to low distension pressure ranges causes significant acute endothelial cell loss and crucial long-term damage, namely neointimal proliferation.

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