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Experimental arteriosclerosis treated by conventional and laser endarterectomy


Open laser endarterectomy was compared to standard surgical endarterectomy in the rabbit arteriosclerosis model. The aorta was exposed by a thoracoabdominal exploration in 16 rabbits. In Group I (8 rabbits), a conventional endarterectomy (CE) was performed with standard vascular instruments. In Group II (8 rabbits), laser endarterectomy (LE) was performed with an argon ion laser (488 nm and 514.5 nm) at a power of 1.0 W. Aortas were fixed, serially sectioned (6 micron) and stained (H +/- E) following each procedure. Gross and light microscopic examination revealed identical results for the endarterectomy surfaces of CE and LE. The proper cleavage plane within the media was developed with both techniques and the remaining arterial wall was not damaged with either procedure. The end points of LE were consistently superior to those of CE because of phototherapy fusion. The LE end points were tapered and the intima was fused. Intimal flaps were seen in 2/8 CE experiments and the remaining end points exhibited an uneven transition. LE required an average energy density of 124 +/- 9 J/cm2. We conclude that LE provides a satisfactory method for the in vivo evaluation of laser radiation upon arteriosclerotic arteries. LE may be the way to begin clinical laser trials.

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