Should Vein Be Saved for Future Operations? A 15-Year Review of Infrainguinal Bypasses and the Subsequent Need for Autogenous Vein

Document Type


Publication Date



The decision to use prosthetic or autogenous vein as the initial conduit for first-time vascular bypass of the lower extremity depends in part on the likelihood of subsequent need for autogenous conduit for another leg or heart bypass. The true frequency of these later events is not known. To answer this question, we analyzed a database of infrainguinal and coronary artery bypasses (CABG) performed at one institution between January 1980 and July 1995, to determine how many patients required subsequent infrainguinal bypass or CABG after their initial leg bypass. Five hundred and seventy-two infrainguinal bypasses were performed on 440 patients (mean age 63.9); average follow-up was 5.6 years. The clinical philosophy favored autogenous vein for first bypass, which was used in 84% of first operations performed during the study period while prosthetic material was used in 16%. For patients in which vein was used for the first operation, and who went on to have a second operation, the use of prosthetic conduit rose from 16% of operations to 27% (p < 0.05). The rate of subsequent CABG after leg bypass was very low, 2% at 5 years, 3% at 10 years. The cumulative probability of requiring a subsequent infrainguinal bypass was 27% at 5 years, 32% at 10 years. Of these, 46% were ipsilateral and 54% were contralateral. Considering only subsequent tibial bypasses (where vein might be considered obligatory), the cumulative 5–year rate of subsequent leg bypass was only 13%. Another bypass was most likely to occur within the first 3 years, rarely thereafter. In summary, after primary infrainguinal bypass, additional procedures using vein may arise in ¼ to ⅓ of patients, mostly in the first 3 years. However, only 13% will definitely need vein for tibial bypass in 5 years, and subsequent CABG is uncommon.



Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users