Balloon catheter injury and vein graft morphology and function

Mark G. Davies, Helge Dalen, Einar Svendsen, Per Otto Hagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Endovascular interventions to salvage failing vein bypass grafts are often associated with suboptimal outcomes. This study examines the effect of experimental vein graft catheter injury on vein graft morphology and vasomotor function. Thirty New Zealand white rabbits underwent a right common carotid interposition vein bypass graft. Ten grafts were harvested at 14 days, 10 were harvested at 28 days, and 10 had a balloon catheter injury induced at 14 days (4 F Fogarty catheter, 0.6 to 0.75 ml water inflation, 3 passes) and these 10 grafts were harvested after an additional 14 days. Morphologic and morphometric determinations (n = 5) or in vitro contractile studies (n = 5) were performed on segments of the vein grafts. Intimal thickness, without any intervention, increased by 84% from 14 to 28 days (p <0.01), whereas catheter injury at 14 days induced a twofold increase (p < 0.001) in the formation of intimal hyperplasia by 28 days. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated near-complete endothelial denudation after balloon catheter injury. In the 14- and 28-day control vein grafts, and in the balloon-injured vein grafts, the vascular surfaces had confluent endothelial linings. However, the ultrastructural features of the endothelial cells were group specific. Transmission electron microscopy of the same specimens confirmed this. There were no significant differences in contractility between the 28-day control and the catheter-injured vein grafts. This study demonstrates that balloon catheter injury doubles the rate at which intimal hyperplasia develops in vein grafts without significantly altering the physiologic phenotype of the smooth muscle cells as defined by their vasomotor function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-442
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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