The radial artery (RA) is a commonly used conduit for coronary artery bypass grafting, and recent studies have demonstrated that it provides superior long-term patency rates to the saphenous vein in most situations. In addition, the RA is also being used with increasing frequency as the access point for coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary interventions. However, there has been concern for many years that these transradial procedures may have a detrimental impact on the function of RA grafts used in coronary artery bypass grafting, and there is now comprehensive evidence that such interventions cause morphologic and functional damage to the artery in situ. Despite this, there remain remarkably few studies investigating the use of previously cannulated RAs as grafts in coronary artery bypass surgery, and there are no clear guidelines on the use of the RA in coronary artery bypass grafting after its catheterization. This article will review concisely the evidence that transradial procedures cause damage to the RA, and discuss the impact this could have on previously cannulated RAs used as coronary artery bypass grafting conduits. On the basis of the evidence assessed, we make a number of recommendations to both surgeons and cardiologists regarding use of the RA in cardiovascular procedures.
Circulation. 2016 Aug 30;134(9):681-8.