Original communication| Volume 79, ISSUE 5, P485-491, May 1976

The use of expanded microporous polytetrafluoroethylene for limb salvage: A preliminary report

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      Initial laboratory and clinical evaluation of a new prosthetic material, expanded microporous polytetraf uoroethylene (PTFE), for small vessel replacement is promising and encourages further clinical trial. Frequently the autogenous saphenous vein is not available for bypass procedures, and alternative arterial substitutes have not proved reliable for replacement of small vessels. In this study, IS patients with impending loss of limb and no available saphenous vein underwent revascularization of the lower extremity with expanded microporous PTFE grafts. Thirteen of 15 patients now demonstrate viable extremities with a resulting over-all early patency and limb salvage rate of 87 percent for this series. Follow-up ranges from one to 8 months. Seven patients had diabetes mellitus and eight had atherosclerotic heart disease. Nine grafts crossed the knee joint. In all patients arterial runoff was poor. Six patients had previous femoropopliteal bypasses, five with autogenous veins and one with Dacron velour. Two patients had multiple previous operations that failed, first with autogenous vein and later with fabric grafts. The current limb salvage and patency rate of 87 percent in high-risk patients suggests that expanded PTFE may be the prosthesis of choice when an autogenous vein is not available and possibly an equally good substitute when the venous autograft is available.
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