A histological examination has been carried out on the saphenous veins used in 150 consecutive patients undergoing aortocoronary bypass. Morphological changes were observed frequently and consisted mainly of fibrosis of the intima and of the medial longitudinal muscular layer. Intimal fibrosis was rarely severe enough to narrow the lumen significantly. Statistical analysis disclosed that the fibrosis of the intima and the medial longitudinal muscular layer do not increase with age. The use of frozen histological sections of the saphenous vein in patients undergoing aortocoronary bypass operations could be considered in order to discard unsuitable grafts and to direct the surgeon to alternative conduits.
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