Objective: To evaluate the midterm angiographic results of the use of radial artery grafts for myocardial revascularization.
Methods: The first 68 consecutive surviving patients who received a radial artery graft proximally anastomosed to the aorta at our institution were studied again at 5 years (mean 59 +/- 6.5 months) of follow-up; 48 of these patients had previously undergone an early angiographic examination. The response of the radial artery to the endovascular infusion of serotonin was evaluated 1 and 5 years after the operation, and the midterm status of the radial artery graft was correlated with the degree of preoperative stenosis of the target vessel and with calcium-channel blocker therapy.
Results: The patency and perfect patency rates of the radial artery grafts 5 years after the operation were 91.9% and 87.0%, respectively. All radial artery grafts that were patent early after the operation remained patent at midterm follow-up, and early parietal irregularities in 7 patients were seen to have disappeared after 5 years. The early propensity toward graft spasm after serotonin challenge was markedly decreased at midterm follow-up. The continued use of calcium-channel antagonists after the first postoperative year did not influence the radial artery graft status, whereas the preoperative severity of the target-vessel stenosis markedly influenced the angiographic results.
Conclusions: The midterm angiographic results of radial artery grafts used for myocardial revascularization are excellent. The correct surgical indication is essential. Continued therapy with calcium-channel antagonists after the first year does not influence the midterm angiographic results.