A new study by researchers at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina says that using endoscopic technique to harvest leg veins for heart surgery may not be advised as the quality of these veins is poor and the chance of death within three years is high.
"It's not gentle," said Dr. John Alexander, the lead author of the study. "There's a fair amount of tugging that will vary case by case. It's certainly more traumatic to the vein than open harvesting."
The study of 3,000 patients revealed that those who had their leg veins harvested by the endoscopic technique as opposed to the open harvesting technique had a 58% higher risk of dying within three years of their surgery. The numbers were revealing as 128 of the 1,753 in the endoscopic group died versus 71 of the 1,247 who had open harvesting technique.
"Open harvesting, though more invasive and associated with more wound complications, may be less traumatic to the vein and could result in a better conduit," Alexander said.
The details are reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.