• Doppler-derived blood flow velocity and limb blood preshemosure measurements were used to characterize the hemodynamics of 128 in situ saphenous vein arterial bypasses. The magnitude and configuration of the graft velocity waveform was the best predictor of clinical outcome. Successful bypasses had antegrade flow throughout the pulse cycle and a blood flow velocity above 40 cm/s. A low graft blood flow velocity (<40 cm/s) was associated with technical error or early graft failure due to poor runoff. The return of normal limb blood pressure correlated with a technically satisfactory bypass but was measured in only 50% of limbs on the first day after surgery. In 28 bypasses with high blood flow velocity (mean±SD) in systole (102±20 cm/s) and diastole (35± 11 cm/s), postoperative limb blood pressure was initially low (mean ankle-brachial pressure index=0.68) due to restriction of blood flow through small-diameter (<4-mm) venous conduits. As revascularization hyperemia abated, diastolic blood flow velocity decreased and limb blood pressure normalized. Despite the high blood flow velocity and pressure gradient associated with flow-restrictive venous conduits, limb ischemic symptoms resolved, and graft patency was not decreased. An understanding of graft and limb hemodynamics after in situ bypass grafting is critical when noninvasive diagnostic techniques are used to document technical adequacy and for postoperative surveillance.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:477-482)