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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-27

Topical vasodilator response in skeletonized internal mammary artery: Is there really a difference?


1 Department of Medicine, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan
2 Department of Medicine, Ziauddin Medical University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan
3 Department of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Date of Web Publication4-Jan-2017

Correspondence Address:
Syed Raza Shah
Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi
Pakistan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2231-0770.197510

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   Abstract 

Aim of the Study: Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is the gold standard for the treatment of multivessel and left main coronary artery disease. However, there is considerable debate that whether left internal mammary artery (IMA) should be taken as pedicled or skeletonized. This study was conducted to assess the difference in blood flow after the application of topical vasodilator in skeletonized and pedicled IMA. Materials and Methods: In this study, each patient underwent either skeletonized (n = 25) or pedicled IMA harvesting (n = 25). The type of graft on each individual patient was decided randomly. Intraoperative variables such as conduit length and blood flow were measured by the surgeon himself. The length of the grafted IMA was carefully determined in vivo, with the proximal and distal ends attached, from the first rib to IMA divergence. The IMA flow was measured on two separate occasions, before and after application of topical vasodilator. Known cases of subclavian artery stenosis and previous sternal radiation were excluded from the study. Results: The blood flow before the application of topical vasodilator was similar in both the groups (P = 0.227). However, the flow was significantly less in pedicled than skeletonized IMA after application of vasodilator (P < 0.0001). Similarly, the length of skeletonized graft was significantly higher than the length of pedicled graft (P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Our study signifies that skeletonization of IMA results in increased graft length and blood flow after the application of topical vasodilator. However, we recommend that long-term clinical trials should be conducted to fully determine long-term patency rates of skeletonized IMA.

Keywords: Internal mammary artery, pedicled, skeletonized, topical vasodilator


How to cite this article:
Shah SR, Shah SA, Jangda MA, Yaqub MD, Jangda AA, Khan M, Khan MA, Tomkins B. Topical vasodilator response in skeletonized internal mammary artery: Is there really a difference?. Avicenna J Med 2017;7:23-7

How to cite this URL:
Shah SR, Shah SA, Jangda MA, Yaqub MD, Jangda AA, Khan M, Khan MA, Tomkins B. Topical vasodilator response in skeletonized internal mammary artery: Is there really a difference?. Avicenna J Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Mar 26];7:23-7. Available from: http://www.avicennajmed.com/text.asp?2017/7/1/23/197510


   Introduction Top


Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery relieves angina symptoms and reduces mortality among ischemic heart disease patients. [1],[2] It remains the gold standard for the treatment of multivessel and left main coronary artery disease. [3] Since the beginning of 1980s, internal mammary artery (IMA) has been used for CABG. [4] It is a well-known fact that IMA graft has the greatest long-term patency rates of all the grafts. Its supremacy is due to its high resistance to atherosclerotic damage, [5],[6] its own blood supply through the vasa vasorum, its own innervations, fewer myocytes in tunica media, and a well-constructed internal elastic lamina. Therefore, the patient can have a longer time without angina and the need for reoperations. [4] Despite these advantages, there are some drawbacks of using IMA as bypass grafts. These include vasospasm and hypoperfusion in early post-CABG period, especially when vasoactive medication is coadministered. [7],[8] The use of IMA also results in reduced sternal blood flow, [9] increased risk of wound infection, [10] and increased and continuous postoperative pain. [11],[12],[13]

The standard technique of harvesting known as pedicled grafting includes two satellite veins around the graft. Bilateral pedicled IMAs, especially among diabetic patients, have been reported to cause complications such as sternal osteomyelitis. [4] In many studies, it has been reported that dissection of pedicled IMA can lead to sternal devascularization which can lead to higher incidence of infections. [4] Considering this complication, dissection of IMA in skeletonized manner was proposed. In this method, only the artery is harvested without its adjacent tissues. This method was devised to overcome the problems that had been associated with pedicled IMAs.

It has been suggested that skeletonized IMA helps to maintain sternal blood flow and therefore reduces the chances of sternal ischemia. This was confirmed by Del Campo and his team later. [14] It is also believed that skeletonized IMA could also lead to more distal anastomosis and increased graft length. Furthermore, it is believed to cause less postoperative pain. [15] Due to these factors, skeletonized IMA has started to gain popularity around the globe. However, long-term effects of skeletonized IMA have not been established in regards of long-term patency. Furthermore, skeletonized IMA also lacks the homeostatic milieu that is carried by the pedicled graft.

To assess the differences between skeletonized and pedicled grafts, we conducted this study to evaluate variation in IMA flow, graft length, and sternal dehiscence.


   Materials And Methods Top


This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Dow University of Health Sciences. Patients undergoing nonemergent, isolated CABG surgery were included in the study. Single IMA graft was used in all the patients. Known cases of subclavian artery stenosis and previous sternal radiation were excluded from the study.

In this study, each patient underwent either skeletonized or pedicled IMA harvesting. The type of graft on each individual patient was decided randomly at the discretion of the surgeon. During the course of the study, patients were unaware whether they had received skeletonized or pedicled graft. Intraoperative variables such as conduit length and blood flow were measured by the surgeon himself.

The length of the grafted IMA was carefully determined in vivo, with the proximal and distal ends attached, from the first rib to IMA divergence. After the graft was completely dissected along its whole span and before the division of its distal end, the midsegment was enclosed by a piece of sterilized silk suture. Constant stress was applied to both the ends of the suture. Another silk suture was used to follow the path of the IMA to determine its length from the first rib to the IMA bifurcation.

The IMA flow was measured on two separate occasions. The IMA was divided at the bifurcation, and the free end was put into 30 mL of empty syringe without the needle, and the outlet was obstructed with the fingertip. Flow was allowed for 30 s, and care was taken for the IMA not to be kinked. The IMA was sprayed with papaverine and wrapped in wet gauze. Temperature, central venous pressure (CVP), and mean arterial pressure (MAP) were noted at the time of flow measurements. After 10-15 min, second flow was measured in the same fashion provided strictly the same temperature, CVP, and MAP.

Data were entered and analyzed in  SPSS version 18.0 (IBM, Armonk, North Castle, NY, USA). Descriptive statistics for continuous variables were presented as mean ± standard deviation, and frequencies along with percentages were displayed for categorical variables. The IMA flow was measured by Chi-square test which was performed to compare categorical demographic, operative, and postoperative variables between skeletonized and pedicled grafts. Mann-Whitney U-test was executed to assess the same for continuous variables as normality test using Shapiro-Wilk's test revealed that these variables were skewed. P < 0.05 was considered to show significant difference in variables between the two grafts.


   Results Top


A total of fifty patients were included in the study. Half of the patients underwent skeletonized grafting while the other half underwent pedicled grafting. Among them, 31 (62%) patients were males. Most of the patients had O + blood group (n = 28, 56%). Twenty-three (46%) had a history of smoking, 26 (52%) were betel nut chewers, 22 (44%) had a history of hypertension, and 30 (60%) were diabetics. The mean body surface area was 1.74 ± 0.034 m 2 , and the mean ejection fraction was 46.82 ± 6.09%. The distributions of these demographic factors were statistically similar for skeletonized and pedicled grafts except diabetic status (P = 0.004) and body surface area (P = 0.042) [Table 1]. These factors were then set as confounding factors in later analyses for operative variables.
Table 1: Comparison of preoperative variables between the two groups


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The average number of anastomosis was 3.92 ± 0.85 while the mean length of grafts was 14.5 ± 1.78 cm. The blood flow before papaverine was 15.4 ± 5.19 mL/min and after papaverine, it increased up to 29.34 ± 13.99 mL/min. The average hospital stay was 8.34 ± 0.96 days. Comparing the operative and postoperative variables between skeletonized and pedicled grafted patients, the mean length of skeletonized graft was significantly higher than pedicled graft (P < 0.0001). The mean blood flow before papaverine was similar in both groups (P = 0.227). However, the flow was significantly less in pedicled than skeletonized IMA after application of papaverine (P < 0.0001) [Table 2].
Table 2: Comparison of intraoperative variables between the two groups


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Repeated measure ANOVA showed significant rise in blood flow after papaverine in both the groups (P < 0.001) [Figure 1]. In addition, the operative variables were also compared between two groups while confounding the effect of diabetic status and body surface area. After confounding the effect of these two variables, analysis revealed that the length of graft and blood flow after application of papaverine were still significantly different in both the groups. None of the patients developed sternal wound infection, myocardial infarction, or stroke during the procedure. The duration of hospital stay was significantly same for both the groups (P = 0.943) [Table 3].
Figure 1: Mean blood flow before and after the application of papaverine: P < 0.001 by repeated measure ANOVA

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Table 3: Comparison of postoperative variables between the two groups


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   Discussion Top


Many studies over the past few decades have established that IMA is the best conduit choice for CABG due to its long-lasting patency and long-term survival. [16] However, there is significant dispute regarding the optimal harvesting technique for this conduit. In this study, we compare the length of graft and blood flow in skeletonized and pedicled harvest of IMA. One of the main reasons provided by cardiac surgeons worldwide for choosing skeletonized IMA is that it provides greater length and increased blood flow. [17] Therefore, we conducted this study to test the hypothesis that skeletonization increases graft length and blood flow after the application of papaverine.

The major baseline variables such as smoking status, betel nut consumption, hypertension, gender, and ejection fraction were all insignificant between the two groups. This allowed fair comparison of operative variables between skeletonized and pedicled groups. Although there was a significant difference in the proportion of diabetics in the two groups, diabetic status was set as a confounding factor for analysis of operative variables. In our study, neither myocardial infarction nor sternal wound infection occurred in either group. However, it is widely believed that skeletonized graft results in decreased incidence of sternal infections and other chest complications because skeletonization increases microcirculation and perfusion to the sternum. [18]

The results of present study indicate that blood flow in skeletonized group was significantly higher than in pedicled group after application of papaverine. This is consistent with another study which also showed that blood flow in the two groups before papaverine injection was not significantly different but after papaverine injection, skeletonized group had a much greater increase in blood flow. [17] Castro et al. also concluded in their study that skeletonization of IMA results in increased blood flow, especially after application of a vasodilator. [19] Takami and Ina also showed in their study that skeletonization increases mean blood flow. [20] Thus, we can say that our results help strengthen the basic assumption that skeletonization does increase blood flow, especially after the application of a topical vasodilator. This increase in blood flow in skeletonized grafts may be attributed to increased conduit caliber for anastomosis. [20]

Furthermore, our results indicate that skeletonization of IMA grafts leads to a significantly increased length of the conduit. This is consistent with previous studies [21] that have also demonstrated an increment of up to 2.5 cm in skeletonized grafts. The mean length (16.1 cm) of skeletonized graft in our study was very similar to the mean length (18.3 cm) of skeletonized graft in another study done by Boodhwani et al. [22],[23],[24] Kandemir et al. also highlighted that skeletonization is associated with increased length of the conduit (15.7+/-0.4 cm in pedicled group versus 19.0 ± 0.6 cm in skeletonized group; P = 0.001). [25],[26] The small variation that is obtained in lengths of these grafts among different studies may be due to skeletonization technique, vasodilator use, and preferences in selection of patients. Increased conduit length may have great significance in the surgery outcome as it allows easy revascularization distally [21] and composite grafting. Moreover, quality and diameter of graft can effortlessly be determined by clear visual examination. Skeletonization of the graft also allows easy construction of sequential anastomosis as supported by Cunningham et al. [27] Our experience in this study also confirms the technical ease with which skeletonized grafts can be used for construction of multiple sequential anastomoses.

It still remains to be determined whether skeletonized grafts lead to better early and midterm patency rates. A retrospective case series done by Sauvage et al., in which 150 patients, who underwent 3-vessel revascularization using skeletonization technique, had a patency rate of 85% at 7.4 years. [28] In this study, [28] it was also concluded that IMA grafts for triple-vessel revascularization offer outstanding results and are suitable for all categories of patients. However, our study did not measure mid or long-term patency rates as we did not do follow-up. Our study had another limitation due to scarce facilities in our public hospital. Intraluminal flow could not be measured in IMA through Doppler technique. Due to lack of Doppler facility, we could only measure free flow in a crude manner. Furthermore, the mammary artery was sprayed with papaverine. This method while covering the skeletonized mammary may not reach the pedicled mammary which is still covered with tissue. Therefore, the papaverine may not reach in some case and thus may not have an effect.


   Conclusion Top


Our study signifies that skeletonization of IMA results in increased graft length and blood flow after the application of topical vasodilator. We believe that skeletonization has many advantages, so cardiac surgeons should use this new surgical technique to potentially improve the quality of IMA. However, we recommend that long-term clinical trials should be conducted to fully determine long-term patency rates of skeletonized IMA.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
   References Top

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