To date, no study has defined the consequences of radial artery harvest based on a large number of patients in a prospective randomized trial.
To compare pain at the harvest site and functional changes associated with harvesting the radial artery vs saphenous vein for coronary artery bypass grafting.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This study compares the consequences of radial artery harvest with saphenous vein harvest in patients undergoing elective coronary artery bypass grafting procedures in Veterans Affairs hospitals.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Eleven hospitals screened 6148 patients, of whom 751 were included in this trial. We analyzed 2 variables: pain at the harvest site as measured on a scale of 0 to 100 (least to most painful) and hand performance testing. Patients included in this analysis had radial artery only (n = 80) or saphenous vein only (n = 337) harvest. Pain score, grip strength, and dexterity were measured before surgery and at 3 and 12 months after surgery. We adjusted for pain scores of the nonharvested extremity, age, whether the patient underwent endoscopic vein harvesting, and comorbid health conditions (smoking history, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and heart failure).
There was a significant difference in change of pain score at 3 months from the preoperative baseline between radial artery and saphenous vein groups after adjusting for covariates (P < .001) but not at 12 months (P = .07). No significant changes occurred in grip strength or dexterity from preoperative baseline to 3 and 12 months after surgery (P > .05).
Conclusions and Relevance
The radial artery group reported significantly more pain than the saphenous vein group 3 months after surgery; however, similar levels of pain were observed in both groups at 12 months after surgery. Grip strength and manual dexterity were not changed by radial artery harvesting at 3 and 12 months.