European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery vol:11 issue:1 pages:134-9
OBJECTIVE: Color and duplex Doppler ultrasound and digital subtraction angiography were compared for the evaluation of graft patency of the gastroepiploic artery (GEA). METHODS: In 77 observations, ultrasound and digital subtraction angiography were compared. The coronary resistance index (cRI) was defined as the maximal systolic flow velocity minus the maximal diastolic flow velocity, divided by the maximal systolic flow velocity. On digital subtraction angiography, the graft was considered patent, occluded, or patent but non-functional. Grafts were defined as non-functional when they had a diameter of less than 5F with the absence of opacification of the native coronary artery. RESULTS: Of the 77 observations, 64 GEAs were patent angiographically, three were occluded and ten grafts were considered as patent but non-functional. Using color and duplex ultrasound, the GEA was identified in 65 out of 77 observations. There were no cases of false positive visualization of the GEA. All sonographically detected non-functional grafts (n = 7) had a cRI of greater than 0.60. When the non-visualized grafts are considered either non-functional or occluded, a cut-off value for a cRI of 0.60 results in a sensitivity and specificity of 100 and 75%, respectively. CONCLUSION: We propose ultrasound as a primary screening tool for evaluating graft patency. While color Doppler is a suitable technique for graft visualization, spectral analysis with the calculation of a cRI is required for functional evaluation.