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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2008 Aug;34(2):384-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcts.2008.04.028. Epub 2008 May 27.

Endoscopic vs open saphenous vein harvest for coronary artery bypass grafting: a prospective randomized trial.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Aalborg Hospital, University of Aarhus, Hobrovej, Aalborg, Denmark.



Endoscopic saphenous vein harvesting (EVH) for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) has been developed to reduce leg wound morbidity and improve patient satisfaction. Choosing between EVH of a short vein segment from the thigh and open venous harvesting (OVH) of a short segment from the calf represents a clinical dilemma as EVH is easiest to perform from the thigh and OVH is easiest to perform from the calf. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether leg wound morbidity was reduced after EVH of a short vein segment from the thigh compared with OVH from the calf. Secondly we investigated whether EVH would reduce length of hospital stay and improve cosmetic results.


From April 2004 to June 2007, 132 patients undergoing elective isolated CABG were randomized to have a short segment of saphenous vein harvested either by the EVH or OVH technique. Clinical follow-up was scheduled at day 5 and at 1 month. Primary end-points included wound morbidity. Secondary end-points included harvest time, length of hospital stay, cosmetic results and need for additional wound care after discharge.


The groups were preoperative similar. Three patients in the OVH group were excluded from the study as it became apparent that it was necessary to extend the incision beyond the knee. Harvest time was longer for the EVH group, but these patients suffered from significantly fewer cases of infectious and non-infective wound complications, with a substantial reduction in the need for post-discharge leg wound care. The purulent infection rates in the EVH and OVH groups were 0% and 11%, respectively. The overall leg wound morbidity rates regarding cellulitis, purulent infection, dehiscence and skin necrosis were 3% and 27% in the EVH and OVH groups, respectively (p<0.001). The length of hospital stay was similar. The conversion rate from EVH to OVH was 14%. The EVH group experienced less pain and better cosmetic results.


EVH of a short vein segment from the thigh results in less wound morbidity and better cosmetic results compared with OVH of a short vein segment from the calf.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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