Surgical Experience with Expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a Replacement Graft for Traumatized Vessels

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Abstract

With the increased nationwide incidence of major vascular injuries, the need for interposition grafting has become quite common in major trauma centers. Despite extensive experience with such injuries, the choice of a substitute conduit remains controversial. Recent studies have demonstrated the potential of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a replacement graft for small arteries and veins. The surgical services at the Ben Taub General Hospital began to use PTFE grafts in traumatic vascular wounds approximately 2 years ago. Eight axillary arteries and 12 brachial arteries have had interposition grafting with PTFE prostheses. Eleven patients have required PTFE interposition grafts in repair of traumatized common, superficial, and profunda femoris arteries and common femoral veins; eight patients had reconstruction in the popliteal artery or vein. Three patients had renal artery revascularization procedures following blunt abdominal trauma, three patients had segmental replacement of the superior mesenteric artery following gunshot wounds, and one carotid artery, one iliac vein, and two axillary veins were grafted with PTFE. All patients with segmental repair of axillary, brachial, femoral, and popliteal vessels have maintained good distal pulses and viable extremities. No grafts have thrombosed, nor become infected, in spite of soft-tissue injury encountered at time of repair. In situations requiring interposition graft placement for reestablishment of distal flow in small arteries and veins, PTFE grafts appear to be an acceptable prosthesis.

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