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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2001 Dec;20(6):1142-6.

Subjective patient outcomes following coronary artery bypass using the radial artery: results of a cross-sectional survey of harvest site complications and quality of life.

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Harefield Hospital, Hill End Road, Harefield, Middlesex UB9 6JH, UK.



To assess patient-based outcomes following radial artery harvesting for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG).


A cross-sectional telephone survey of 127 patients who underwent radial artery grafting was undertaken. The parameters assessed included symptoms related to the radial artery harvest site (functional impairment, sensory symptoms, and wound infection) and health related quality of life.


A high percentage of patients (67.7%) reported altered sensation, in the hand, in particular around the thenar eminence, in the forearm, or in relation to the incision; this was self-limiting and clinically insignificant in the vast majority of patients. Twelve patients reported residual insignificant symptoms after a median follow-up of 17.5 months. Four patients reported a subjective decrease in grip strength. Patients reported a good quality of life, and there was no association between this and the presence or absence of symptoms related to radial artery harvest. Some patients volunteered a 'preference' for the radial artery harvest site when compared with concomitantly harvested long saphenous vein (LSV), and there was a lower wound infection rate at radial artery harvest sites compared with vein harvest sites (6 vs. 15%).


Sensory symptoms following radial artery procurement occur more frequently than previously reported, but are largely self-limiting and are usually clinically insignificant. Patients appear to have a good quality of life following CABG using the radial artery. Radial artery harvest may be associated with lower wound infection rates and greater patient satisfaction than LSV harvest, however, the presence of residual sensory symptoms may be of relevance when obtaining informed consent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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