The No-Touch Saphenous Vein as the Preferred Second Conduit for Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

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Injury incurred while saphenous veins are being obtained results in poor graft patency and impairs the results of coronary artery bypass grafting. A novel method of obtaining veins, the no-touch technique, has shown improved long-term saphenous vein graft patency.


This randomized trial included 108 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting and compared the patency of no-touch saphenous vein with that of radial artery grafts. Each patient was assigned to receive one no-touch saphenous vein and one radial artery graft to either the left or the right coronary territory to complement the left internal thoracic artery.


Angiography was performed in 99 patients (92%) at a mean of 36 months postoperatively. Graft and grafted coronary artery patency was evaluated. The patency of grafts for no-touch saphenous vein and radial artery was 94% versus 82% (p = 0.01), respectively. The patency of coronary arteries grafted with no-touch saphenous vein and radial artery grafts was 95% versus 84% (p = 0.005), respectively. Eighty-nine of 96 (93%) left internal thoracic artery grafts were patent.


No-touch saphenous vein grafts showed a significantly higher patency rate than the radial artery grafts and the patency was comparable to the patency for left internal thoracic artery grafts. This highlights the improvement in saphenous vein graft quality with the no-touch technique and increases the number of situations in which saphenous veins may be preferable to radial artery grafts as conduits in coronary artery bypass grafting.

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