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OBJECTIVES: Low patency rates of saphenous vein grafts remain a major predicament in surgical revascularization. We examined a novel expandable external support device designed to mitigate causative factors for early and late graft failure. METHODS: For this study, fourteen adult sheep underwent cardiac revascularization using two vein grafts for each; one to the LAD and the other to the obtuse marginal artery. One graft was supported with the device while the other served as a control. Target vessel was alternated between consecutive cases. The animals underwent immediate and late angiography and were then sacrificed for histopathologic evaluation. RESULTS: Of the fourteen animals studied, three died peri-operatively (unrelated to device implanted), and ten survived the follow-up period. Among surviving animals, three grafts were thrombosed and one was occluded, all in the control group (p = 0.043). Quantitative angiographic evaluation revealed no difference between groups in immediate level of graft uniformity, with a coefficient-of-variance (CV%) of 7.39 in control versus 5.07 in the supported grafts, p = 0.082. At 12 weeks, there was a significant non-uniformity in the control grafts versus the supported grafts (CV = 22.12 versus 3.01, p < 0.002). In histopathologic evaluation, mean intimal area of the supported grafts was significantly lower than in the control grafts (11.2 mm^2 versus 23.1 mm^2 p < 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: The expandable SVG external support system was found to be efficacious in reducing SVG's non-uniform dilatation and neointimal formation in an animal model early after CABG. This novel technology may have the potential to improve SVG patency rates after surgical myocardial revascularization.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cardiothorac Surg

Publication Date





Animals, Coronary Angiography, Coronary Artery Bypass, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Vessels, Disease Models, Animal, Equipment Design, Female, Saphenous Vein, Sheep, Vascular Patency