Free Radial Artery Grafts: Surgical Technique and Results

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In the search for alternative conduits, the use of radial artery (RA) grafts has found renewed interest. This study sought to evaluate prospectively the perioperative morbidity, including the postoperative complications in the donor forearm, and mortality in the routine use of RA grafts in coronary artery bypass surgery. Data were obtained prospectively on 200 consecutive patients who underwent coronary revascularization using at least one RA graft from January 1995 to April 1997. The mean age of the patents was 61.9 ± 10.5 years (mean ± standard deviation [SD]). The RA was obtained from one forearm in 197 patients and both forearms in 3 patients. Two patients (1%) required exploration for donor site hematomas, 4 patients (2%) had temporary perioperative dysesthesias in the region of the lateral cutaneous nerve of the forearm, and none had donor site wound infection. Two patients (1%) had a myocardial infarction with electrocardiographic changes in the areas grafted by the RA in the immediate postoperative period, indicating graft failure. The two deaths in the series were due to comorbid factors. Our data suggest that the RA is a safe and suitable conduit for coronary revascularization, and it provides good clinical results. Long-term follow-up of these patients is necessary to confirm the patency of RA conduits. Free RA grafts have the potential for use in other areas of surgery where a conduit is necessary for revascularization procedures.

Sudhakar CBS, Forman DL, Dewar ML, Shaw RK, Fusi S. Free radial artery grafts: surgical technique and results. Ann Plast Surg 1998;40:408-41

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