Recent findings have shown that the radial artery may not be the best choice for cardiac bypass surgery as it is less likely to remain open after surgery as compared to other grafts i.e. internal mammary artery (IMA) or the saphenous vein (SV). Long-term follow-ups have shown that only about half of radial artery grafts remain still open as compared to 90% of the other grafts. If the arterial graft closes the person needs to undergo a heart surgery again.
To compare radial artery grafts with the IMA and SV grafts the researchers conducted a study on 310 patients who had undergone cardiac bypass surgery at a clinic. Because bypass surgery typically involves more than one blood vessel to be bypassed, the patients received all three type of grafts. The patients were then followed up for more than a year and the results showed that the radial artery grafts were not doing as well as the other graft. The study also showed that females in particular proved to be poor candidates for radial artery graft as compared to male candidates. In females only 35% of the graft remained open as compared to 56% in males.
According to the results of the study the researchers suggest that the internal mammary artery is the best choice for bypass surgery followed by the saphenous vein. Hence, researchers propose that instead of blindly opting out for radial artery graft it is imperative to know how effective the radial artery graft may prove in cardiac bypass surgery.