Minimally invasive saphenous vein harvesting: Endothelial integrity and early clinical results

David G. Cable, Joseph A. Dearani, Eric A. Pfeifer, Richard C. Daly, Hartzell V. Schaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background. Endoscopic harvesting of vein grafts may reduce wound complications but the effect on the venous endothelium is unknown. Endothelium-derived vasoactive substances may be important in vein graft disease prevention. We investigated the impact of endoscopic harvesting on the release of these factors and proceeded to evaluate the clinical applicability. Methods and Results. Porcine veins were harvested in either an endoscopic or open fashion. Superfusion bioassay from endoscopic veins had a similar basal secretion as control veins (6.5% ± 1.5% versus 3.2% ± 2.2%, respectively; n = 5, p = 0.39). Calcium ionophore A23187 stimulation was similar in both groups (24.6% ± 5.1% versus 27.3% ± 9.6%; n = 5, p = 0.68). Light and electron microscopy documented a normal endothelial monolayer in both groups with no endothelial cell or connective tissue loss. Encouraged by these results, 38 patients have subsequently undergone this procedure at our institution. Total operative time for harvesting 35 to 45 cm of saphenous vein was 62.3 ± 5.3 minutes- (range, 35 to 120 minutes). The procurement time in the most recent five patients' was 41.6 ± 3.3 minutes. Patients had little incisional pain, but did have mild ecchymosis. Conclusions. Endothelial release of vasoactive substances after endoscopic harvesting is similar to that after the traditional, extended incision technique, and microscopy confirmed similar histology. These laboratory findings support the satisfactory early clinical experience with endoscopic harvesting of saphenous veins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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