Intimal hyperplasia (IH) limits the long-term success of veins as arterial grafts. IH occurs in veins partly as an adaptive process to arterial pressure conditions. The authors have previously reported early success with cryopreserved (CP) saphenous veins as aortocoronary bypass grafts, and they have hypothesized that CP arterial segments were already structurally adapted for arterial conditions. Six femoral arterial segments were harvested from three adult donor dogs, and cryopreserved. The segments were thawed and implanted into six recipient dogs, in end-to-end fashion, as interpositional grafts in the femoral artery. A similar length of native femoral artery was removed from the implant site and grafted in the contralateral femoral artery of the same animal to serve as native autograft-matched controls. Grafts were harvested bilaterally after 2 (n = 3) and 4 weeks (n = 3), perfusion fixed (80 mmHg, 15 min), and analyzed histologically. All grafts were patent at harvest, and flows distal to the grafted segments were not significantly different between grafts within an animal either at implant or subsequent harvest. Although CP arterial grafts still showed slight but significant dilation compared with native autograft, the dilation was much less than seen previously with either CP or native venous segments. No evidence of inflammation or IH was seen in CP arterial grafts. The absence of early IH or inflammation suggests that CP small diameter arteries may perform better than many currently available albgraft tissues and synthetic prosthetics. ASAIO Journal 1997; 43:M522-M526.
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