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Ann Vasc Surg. 2019 Nov;61:246-253. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2019.05.017. Epub 2019 Aug 2.

Comparison of Autologous Vein and Bovine Carotid Artery Graft as a Bypass Conduit in Arterial Trauma.

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Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. Electronic address:
Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.



Surgical revascularization is the mainstay treatment in treating most traumatic arterial injuries, and autologous great saphenous vein is widely regarded as the conduit of choice. However, the use of the great saphenous vein may be limited by many factors, and there are little data to guide management in this setting. Bovine carotid artery graft (Artegraft, Inc., North Brunswick, NJ, USA) is a biologic conduit that has been used in select trauma cases at our center. The objective of this study was to review and compare our experience with autologous vein and bovine carotid artery in traumatic arterial injuries requiring bypass or interposition.


This is a retrospective review of all patients with a traumatic arterial injury repaired with autologous vein or bovine carotid artery graft at a single center between April 2014 and October 2016. Outcomes of interest included differences in duration of ischemia, operative times, patency, limb salvage, graft-related complications, and functional status.


Thirty patients were included in this study. Seventeen (57%) injuries were to the lower extremity (LE) and 13 (43%) to the upper extremity. Bovine carotid artery graft was used as a conduit in 12 (40%) cases, while autologous vein was used in 18 (60%) patients. Patients were predominantly male (90%). Mean age was 31 ± 15 years. Comorbidities did not differ significantly between the groups. Mean follow-up duration was 19 ± 13 months. Overall primary patency was 82%: bovine versus autologous vein (78% vs. 85%; P = 0.68). Overall secondary patency was 91%: bovine versus autologous vein (78% vs. 100%; P = 0.16). Overall limb salvage was 90%: bovine versus autologous vein (82% vs. 94%; P = 0.28). When comparing bovine carotid artery graft to autologous vein in LE interventions, primary patency (50% vs. 71%; P = 0.40), secondary patency (75% vs. 100%; P = 0.23), and limb salvage (80% vs. 86%; P = 0.76) did not differ significantly. There were no early or late graft infections with either conduit. There were no significant differences in ambulatory status at discharge by graft type. Overall survival was 100%.


In this series, there is a trend toward improved patency and limb salvage with autologous vein. Autologous vein should be the standard of care for revascularization of traumatic arterial injuries. Bovine carotid artery graft appears be a viable alternative, especially in patients requiring urgent revascularization, that does not significantly compromise patency, limb salvage, or functional outcomes.


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