Endothelial damage after simulated angioscopic insertion was evaluated in 22 dogs by radioimmunoassay of endogenous 6-keto-prostaglandin F1α (stable product of prostacyclin produced by the endothelium) by means of a closed perfusion system and scanning electron microscopy. In 20 dogs, a 1.7 mm diameter polyethylene tube similar in size and physical characteristics to a commercially available angioscope was passed once into the distal venotomy site and out of the proximal venotomy site for a total distance of 15 cm in the left saphenous vein (group A) and 10 times in both directions in the right saphenous vein, destroying all valves (group B). The vein segments were examined immediately after simulated angioscopic insertion and at intervals of 2, 3, and 4 weeks. The remaining two dogs were used as control animals to establish baseline prostacyclin production. All veins were patent when harvested. Scanning electron microscopy revealed globular and contracted endothelial cells in some areas of group A veins, whereas partial longitudinal absence of endothelial cells was noted in group B veins. Intimal coverage was complete by 2 weeks in group A veins and between 3 and 4 weeks in group B veins. Prostacyclin synthesis of group B veins was significantly less than that of group A at day 1 and at 2 weeks after operation (p < 0.05), reaching that of control vein synthesis by 4 weeks. This study suggests that simulated angioscopic trauma of the luminal surface of the canine saphenous vein had no negative effect on early patency.
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