Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that the procedure works well and is safe enough to be used in the NHS. The 9 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 271,018 patients.

Generally, they showed the following benefits with keyhole saphenous vein harvesting:

  • less leg pain than with the 'open' technique.

Overall, in terms of death in the medium term, the need for repeated grafting and heart attacks, the results were very similar whether the 'open' or keyhole technique was used for vein graft harvest.

The studies showed that the risks of keyhole saphenous vein harvesting included:

  • leg wound infections, but fewer than with the 'open' technique

  • wound complications that needed further treatment, but less frequently than with the 'open' technique

  • rarely, problems caused by large bubbles of carbon dioxide in the body, which all resolved with treatment.

If you want to know more about the studies see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard