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Vol 7, No 3-4 (2001)
Research paper
Published online: 2002-01-10

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Does mild heat combined with external stenting prevent from intimal hyperplasia and medial thickening in the venous grafts? Experimental study

Bartłomiej Perek, Paul Herijgers, Mirosław Ziętkiewicz, Willem Flameng
Acta Angiologica 2001;7(3-4):63-68.


Introduction. Intimal hyperplasia and medial thickening of the venous grafts used in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) often leads to wall thickening and ultimately to conduit occlusion. The purpose was to investigate the effects of mild heat (85°C) followed by utilization of restrictive sleeve on histological changes of the venous grafts implanted into an arterial system.
Material and methods. Reversed external jugular vein interposition grafting of the carotid artery on the mongrel dogs (n = 18) was performed. The experimental animals were split into three groups: H (n = 6) - grafts were exposed to mild heat and an external sleeve was placed around, S (n = 6) - grafts only with the sleeve and C (n = 6) - control group. The grafts were explanted after 3 months. Prior to explantation the grafts’ patency was checked using flowmeter. Afterwards harvested veins were examined in light (LM), scanning (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). Cross-sectional intima (IA), media (MA) and relative intima area (RIA) for all grafts were calculated. Tissue samples from all grafts before implantation (harvested veins and veins after exposition to mild heat) were also examined.
Results. Mild heat destroyed endothelial cells (ECs) and, to a lesser degree, basement membrane but did not influence IA, MA and RIA values. Medial smooth muscle cells (SMCs) located closer to the adventitia were affected by heat pretreatment. After 3 months all grafts were patent. Intimal hyperplasia was observed in group S and C, but not in H. Intimal area was markedly higher (p < 0.05) in group S (1.97 ± 0.57 mm2) and C (1.51 ± 0.77 mm2) than in H (0.38 ± 0.08 mm2). Scanning scans 3 months after implantation showed the luminal surface of all grafts was mostly covered by ECs. Smoth muscle cells were present in the intima of all grafts in group C and S, not in H. Some of them were active synthetic type SMCs with many mitochondria and well developed Golgi apparatus (TEM). The media was atrophic in group H and S, where collagen bundles were dissociated, the collagen fibers disrupted and in random orientation in the matrix. Media area was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in group C (2.64 ± 0.32 mm2) than in S (1.71 ± 0.45 mm2) and H (1.74 ± 0.48 mm2).
Conclusion. Mild heat pre-treatment and external sleeving may mitigate the formation of intimal hyperplasia and reduce medial thickening after implantation in the arterial circulation.

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