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Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 Dec 12. pii: S0003-4975(18)31785-5. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2018.10.066. [Epub ahead of print]

Technical Aspects of the Use of the Radial Artery in Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, United States. Electronic address:
Schulich Heart Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
University of Massachusetts-Baystate, Springfield, United States; University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Toledo, United States.
Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, United States.



The radial artery (RA) has been used for coronary artery bypass surgery for more than 25 years. The recent confirmation of the clinical benefits associated with the use of the artery is likely to drive a new interest toward this conduit in the next few years METHODS: A group of surgeons with extensive experience in the systematic use of the RA summarize here the key technical aspects of the use of the conduit for coronary bypass operations.


Preoperative evaluation of the ulnar collateral circulation and attention to the characteristics of the target vessel are key for the successful use of the radial artery. Open or endoscopic harvesting can be used, preferentially with the aid of the harmonic scalpel. The use of vasodilatory and antispastic protocols is probably important but poorly supported by the current evidence. The radial artery can be used for multiple grafting strategies with variable degree of technical complexity.


With attention to few technical key points, the radial artery is a versatile conduit that can be easily introduced in the everyday practice of coronary artery bypass surgery.

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