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Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2008 Feb;56(1):24-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-965577.

Effect of low dose electrocautery usage during radial artery harvesting on the neurological outcome of the forearm: a neuroelectrophysiological study.

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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Medical Faculty, Zonguldak, Turkey.



The present study aimed to investigate whether electrocautery caused any thermal injury to the forearm nerves or not.


We compared the neurological outcome of two different radial artery harvesting techniques through neuroelectrophysiological studies. Preoperative values and postoperative conduction changes after one month were compared in two groups of patients. Each of the groups consisted of 20 patients. Radial arteries were harvested using scissors in Group 1 and with a low dose diathermy technique in Group 2.


The mean amplitude of sensory action potentials of radial nerves was significantly reduced postoperatively at the end of the first month in both groups (P = 0.01, P = 0.001). But there were no significant differences between groups with respect to the sensory action potentials of ulnar and median nerves postoperatively. There were no significant differences between groups with respect to radial, ulnar and median nerve motor conduction recordings.


Low dose electrocautery does not cause excessive nerve injury compared with the scissors technique in radial artery harvesting. Electrocautery may be used safely for RA harvesting in the forearm.

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