Objective: Prior studies have suggested improved wound complication rates but decreased primary patency in lower extremity bypasses performed with endoscopic vein harvest (EVH) vs open vein harvest (OVH). We hypothesize that the inferior patency reflects the initial learning curve for EVH and that improved patency can be achieved with experience. Methods: This was a single-institution review of 113 patients with critical limb ischemia who underwent infrainguinal bypass with a continuous segment of great saphenous vein harvested endoscopically (n = 49) or through a single open incision (n = 64) from 2012 to 2017. EVH was performed by surgeons with >5 years' experience with this technique. Operative outcomes, patency, complications, and readmission rates were compared between the harvest methods. EVH data were also compared with our prior reported series of our initial experience with this technique to determine the effects of experience on outcomes. Results: There were no significant differences in patient demographics, medications, operative indications, or inflow/outflow vessels between the two groups. Mean operative time was 322 minutes and median hospital length of stay was 6 days for OVH, and was 340 minutes and 5 days for EVH, which was not significant. Harvest-related wound complications were more frequent with OVH (28% vs 2%, P < .001). Primary patency at 1 and 3 years was 65% and 58% for OVH, and 79% and 71% for EVH, respectively (P = .18), assisted primary patency was 77% and 74% for OVH and 94% and 89% for EVH, respectively (P = .05), and secondary patency was 82% and 79% for OVH and 95% and 95% for EVH, respectively (P = .03). The 30-day readmission rates were similar between OVH (20%) and EVH (12%, P = .26), but 90-day readmissions were more frequent in the OVH group (34% vs 14%, P = .018). Compared with our earlier series of EVH, the current cohort had significantly improved 3-year primary (71% vs 42%, P = .012), primary assisted patency (89 vs 66%, P = .034), and secondary patency (95% vs 66%, P = .003). Conclusions: With experience, lower extremity bypass using EVH can result in improved patency compared with OVH and initial EVH use, while also resulting in fewer wound complications and readmissions, with comparable operative times and hospital length of stay. This technique should be more widely adopted by vascular surgeons as a primary method of vein harvest.
- Chronic limb-threatening ischemia
- Endoscopic vein harvest
- Lower extremity bypass
- Open vein harvest
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine