Saphenous vein as a composite graft from the internal thoracic artery
The saphenous vein (SV) has been used as an aortocoronary bypass graft for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) for the past 50 years. However, CABG using the aortocoronary SV has shown disadvantages of lower long-term graft patency rates and subsequently worse clinical outcomes, compared with CABG using the internal thoracic artery (ITA). The advantages of CABG using the ITA prompted interest in total arterial revascularization, using the bilateral ITAs and other arterial conduits as composite graft configurations in patients exhibiting multi-vessel disease. Total arterial revascularization using a Y- or T-composite graft based on the in situ ITA increases the length of the arterial graft and allows the extensive use of arterial conduits to revascularize both the left and right coronary territories. Further, it has demonstrated favorable outcomes in terms of angiographic patency rates, myocardial perfusion and thickening by single photon emission computed tomography, and long-term clinical outcomes. However, previous studies describing the use of the SV conduit as a composite graft have produced conflicting results. In this article, a recent surgical strategy of using the SV as part of a composite graft based on the in situ left ITA will be discussed.