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Five year patency rates for heparin bonded expanded polytetrafluoroethylene femoropopliteal bypass grafts vs. ePTFE grafts without heparin
Russell H Samson, Ricardo Morales, David P Showalter, Michael R Lepore, Deepak G Nair
The Mote Vascular Foundation, Inc., Sarasota, FL

Introduction
Expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) grafts have become the dominant non-autogenous grafts for infra-inguinal arterial reconstructions to both the above knee (AK) and below knee (BK) popliteal arteries. In recent years, heparin bonding to the luminal surface has been utilized as a possible adjunctive method to improve patency of these grafts. Previous publications dealing with ePTFE have demonstrated that long-term patency results are necessary in order to fully evaluate the clinical utility of these grafts. Accordingly, we have retrospectively evaluated a prospective experience with HePTFE and compared the results to a previous experience with standard ePTFE (SePTFE) in order to compare five year patency for both AK and BK grafts.
Methods
Prior to August of 2007 all non-autogenous femoro-popliteal bypasses performed by our 4 surgeon group were constructed using 6mm SePTFE manufactured by either the Atrium Medical Corporation® (Nashua, New Hampshire) or W.L. Gore & Associates (Flagstaff, Arizona). Subsequently all such bypasses were constructed using 6mm HePTFE (Propaten® W.L. Gore & Associates , Flagstaff, Arizona ). There was no change in operative technique during these two time periods. The surgical technique used in all cases was similar for all 4 surgeons irrespective of graft material and did not change during the course of the study.
Results
There were 192 above-knee (87 HePTFE; 105 SePTFE) and 60 (42 HePTFE; 18 SePTFE) below-knee grafts. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that both varieties of SePTFE (Atrium® and Gore®) achieved similar patency rates and so results for SePTFE include both grafts from both companies. Overall primary patency for HePTFE was statistically better than SePTFE at years one (93.6% vs. 84.2%), two (79.7% vs. 73.8%), three (79.7% vs. 69.5%), four (74.5% vs. 59.9%) and five (74.5% vs. 56.2%). Five year primary patency was superior for HePTFE AK grafts (85.2% vs. 59.3%) Graph #1 and for HePTFE BK grafts (59.6% vs. 43.3%) Graph #2.Variables associated with loss of patency for ePTFE and HePTFE were: isolated popliteal artery (HR 3.11); chronic limb ischemia (HR 2.4); failure to utilize clopidogrel (HR 1.93).and young age (HR 0.95).
Conclusion
The Gore Propaten® graft offers significantly improved long-term patency over standard ePTFE. Based on this data it would appear that this material should be the graft of choice for bypasses to the popliteal artery when saphenous vein is unavailable or inappropriate. The data also suggests that HePTFE Propaten® may be a suitable first line graft for above knee femoropopliteal bypasses in older patients on clopidogrel with good runoff arteries, thus saving the saphenous vein for a subsequent bypass.


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