SINCE vascular surgery has come into prominence, there has been an increasing demand by surgeons for blood vessels to use as grafts. The first blood vessel grafts were obtained from the patients themselves or were vessels freshly obtained at autopsy performed immediately after death. This method is unwieldy and impractical for even the largest institutions, since the opportunity for obtaining a suitable vessel rarely coincides with the opportunity for using it.
To obviate this incongruity, methods of preserving blood vessels were investigated and blood vessel banks were established. Many of the methods of preservation and storage have the drawbacks that the blood vessels must be obtained within a short time after death and the preserved vessels must be used within a limited period, making them impractical for any but the larger hospitals.
In the past several years we have used freezing, storage in physiological solutions, and lyophilization as methods of