Lower limb edema after great saphenous vein harvesting to be used as graft in myocardial revascularization

BACKGROUND: Myocardial revascularization using the great saphenous vein is still a very common surgical procedure. The edema that occurs in the operated leg causes much discomfort and requires further studies. OBJECTIVES: To describe lower limb edema secondary to great saphenous vein harvesting using the bridge technique for use as venous graft in myocardial revascularization. METHODS: Forty-four individuals previously submitted to great saphenous vein harvesting for myocardial revascularization more than 3 months before were randomly selected. Patients with factors that might interfere with formation of lower limb edema were excluded. Both operated and non-operated legs were evaluated by volumetry and perimetry of the malleolar region. Differences greater than 50 mL or higher than 2 cm between the operated and the contralateral leg were considered as presence of significant edema. Chi-square, Fisher’s, McNemar’s and Student’s t tests were used for statistical analysis. Significance level was set at 5% (a = 0.05). RESULTS: Statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) were found between operated and contralateral legs, with 56.8% of the individuals having a difference in volume greater than 50 mL and 31.9% having a difference in malleolar region perimeter greater than 2 cm. There was no association between presence of edema and sample characteristics, surgery, perioperative or late clinical complications. CONCLUSIONS: Patients submitted to resection of the great saphenous vein for coronary artery bypass grafting may evolve with edema of the operated leg.

Edema; myocardial revascularization; diagnosis; complications

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