Long-term Arm Morbidity after Radial Artery Harvesting for Coronary Bypass Operation
Background: The use of the radial artery (RA) in coronary bypass operations has become increasingly popular in recent years, but there is almost no documentation regarding the midterm and long-term arm complications.
Methods: Between January 1 and December 31, 1998, 109 patients underwent operations for myocardial revascularization employing a pedicled RA as 1 of the coronary grafts. The patients were surveyed for subjective arm morbidities at 2 times during their follow-up: short term (mean, 7 months postoperatively; range, 0.3-14 months) and long term (mean, 49 months postoperatively; range, 46-57 months).
Results: At the short-term follow-up, 33 (33.3%) of the patients had some complaints regarding the arm that was operated on, with 4 (4%) of the patients reporting arm disability with complaints that focused on pain (11, 11%), numbness (15, 15%), and parasthesias (12, 12%). At the long-term follow-up, only 9 patients (10.5%) still experienced some sort of inconvenience with the arm that was operated on, with 1 case of functional disability, 4 complaints (4.6%) of residual parasthesias, and 1 report (2.3%) each of pain or numbness. All but 2 of the patients with complaints at the short-term follow-up reported amelioration of symptoms at the long-term follow-up.
Conclusion: It appears that severe arm disability early after RA harvesting is likely to dissolve with time. Our favorable late follow-up results support the continuation of the employment of the RA as a conduit for coronary artery bypass grafting operations.
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