Autogenous spiral vein grafts and ePTFE have been used for reconstruction of the superior vena cava with moderate success. We tested autogenous small intestine submucosa as a superior vena cava interpositional graft in nine dogs. All dogs received aspirin and warfarin sodium for the first 8 weeks after surgery. Graft patency was evaluated by serial venography. One dog died from excessive anticoagulation. Eight dogs were sacrificed at periodic intervals until 72 weeks after surgery. Patent grafts had no evidence of thrombosis, aneurysm, or stenosis. The grafts consisted of dense, organized collagenous connective tissue with a complete endothelial cell layer on the luminal surface. Two dogs are alive at 28 and 34 months after surgery. Graft patency was 89% (eight of nine grafts). We conclude that autogenous small intestine submucosa can be used as a superior vena cava graft in the dog and is worthy of further investigations.
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