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Brazilian Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery

Print version ISSN 0102-7638On-line version ISSN 1678-9741


SOUZA, Domingos S. R. et al. Preparation of the saphenous vein for coronary artery bypass grafting: a new technique "no touch" that maintains the vein wall integral and provides high immediate patency. Rev Bras Cir Cardiovasc [online]. 2003, vol.18, n.4, pp.303-311. ISSN 0102-7638.

BACKGROUND: The technique of harvesting the saphenous vein (SV) for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) influences the fate of vein grafts. A new "no touch" (NT) technique of SV preparation was developed where the vein is harvested with a pedicle of surrounding tissue, which protects the vein from spasms therefore obviating the need for distension. METHOD: A prospective randomized study in 156 patients who underwent CABG was performed comparing three SV harvesting techniques. The techniques were conventional (c) (adventitial stripping of the vein, manual distention and storing in saline solution); Intermediate (I) (after adventitial stripping, the vein was left in situ, covered with a papaverine-soaked compress, and stored in heparinized blood); and "no touch" (SV dissected with its surrounding tissue was left in situ, covered with a saline-soaked compress and stored in heparinized blood). A morphological study of the endothelium was preformed using scanning electronic microscopy and an angiographic assessment of the vein graft patency was performed at 18 months mean follow-up time. Also an immunohistochemistry assessment was performed to identify the enzyme, nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in the vein wall. RESULTS: The preservation of the endothelial cell integrity was greater with the "no touch" technique than with the other procedures. At angiographic follow up, the patency for NT was 95.4%, 88.9% for grafts in group C and 86.2% for grafts in group I. The immunohistochemistry assessment revealed NOS in all three layers of the vein wall that was prepared by the "no touch" technique. However, a great reduction of this enzyme in veins treated by the conventional technique was observed. CONCLUSION: The endothelial integrity and NOS activity were better preserved when using the "no touch" technique for vein graft harvesting. The vasorelaxation and thrombo-resistant activities of nitric oxide (NO) may be responsible for the reduced of vasospasms and improved patency rate. Furthermore, the mechanical properties provided by the cushion of surrounding tissue in graft harvested by NT technique may contribute to the observed high patency rate.

Keywords : Saphenous vein; Endothelium, vascular; Myocardial revascularization [methods].

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