Computational Evaluation of Venous Graft Geometries in Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2022 Summer;34(2):521-532. doi: 10.1053/j.semtcvs.2021.03.007. Epub 2021 Mar 10.


Cardiothoracic surgeons are faced with a choice of different revascularization techniques and diameters for saphenous vein grafts (SVG) in coronary artery bypass graft surgery . Using computational simulations, we virtually investigate the effect of SVG geometry on hemodynamics of both venous grafts and the target coronary arteries. We generated patient-specific 3-dimensional anatomic models of coronary artery bypass graft surgery patients and quantified mechanical stimuli. We performed virtual surgery on 3 patient-specific models by modifying the geometry vein grafts to reflect single, Y, and sequential surgical configurations with SVG diameters ranging from 2 mm to 5 mm. Our study demonstrates that the coronary artery runoffs are relatively insensitive to the choice of SVG revascularization geometry. We observe a 10% increase in runoff when the SVG diameter is changed from 2 mm to 5 mm. The wall shear stress of SVG increases dramatically when the diameter drops, following an inverse power scaling with diameter. For a fixed diameter, the average wall shear stress on the vein graft varies in ascending order as single, Y, and sequential graft in the patient cohort. The runoff to the target coronary arteries changes marginally due to the choice of graft configuration or diameter. The shear stress on the vein graft depends on both flow rate and diameter and follows an inverse power scaling consistent with a Poiseuille flow assumption. Given the similarity in runoff with different surgical configurations, choices of SVG geometries can be informed by propensity for graft failure using shear stress evaluations.

Keywords: Blood flow simulation; Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG); Shear stress; Vein graft; Virtual surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Bypass* / adverse effects
  • Coronary Artery Bypass* / methods
  • Humans
  • Saphenous Vein* / transplantation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Patency