PURPOSE: Modified anastomotic techniques utilizing autogenous vein- cuffs or patches have been devised with the hope of improving prosthetic graft patency. The mechanisms of the presumed improvement in patched anastomoses have never been elucidated and remain speculative. We characterized the healing response of the Taylor vein patch in prosthetic arteriovenous fistulae in a canine model of intimal hyperplasia. METHODS: Six adult dogs underwent placement of bilateral (6 patched, 6 control) 4-mm diameter expanded polytetrafluoroethylene loop femoral artery-vein fistulae. Serial duplex ultrasound examinations confirmed graft patency until explant at 6 weeks. Differential light microscopy with computerized image analysis was performed on serial 5-μm sections. Intimal thickness through the venous anastomosis and outflow veins of Taylor patch and control (nonpatched) grafts were compared. Cell type-specific immunocytochemical antibody stains for smooth muscle cells (α SMC actin) and endothelial cells (von Willebrand factor) were performed. RESULTS: Eleven of 12 grafts remained patent for 6 weeks, 1 control graft thrombosed. Mean duplex-derived peak systolic velocities of patched (96 cm/sec) and control (108 cm/sec) grafts were similar. Microscopy revealed more intimal pannus anastomotic suture line ingrowth in controls (mean thickness = 178 μm) than Taylor patched grafts (mean 147 μm, p = 0.0002). Significantly less intimal thickening was present in the outflow vein of patched (mean thickness = 90 μm) versus control grafts (mean 195 μm, P <0.0001). The intima maintained a single cell layer of vWF + endothelial cells, while the majority of the cells comprising the lesion expressed α SMC actin. CONCLUSION: Perianastomotic pannus is primarily composed of intimal smooth muscle cells. Neointimal thickening is significantly reduced in prosthetic arteriovenous fistulae created with the Taylor vein patch in a canine model. Reduction in perianastomotic intimal thickening may explain the reported clinical improvement in prosthetic bypass graft patency when modified with vein patch techniques.
ASJC Scopus subject areas