Objective: The radial artery has been demonstrated to provide superior long-term patency outcomes compared with saphenous veins for selected patients who undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Recently, endoscopic radial artery harvesting has been popularized to improve cosmetic and perioperative outcomes. However, concerns have been raised regarding the effects on long-term survival and graft patency of this relatively novel technique. The present meta-analysis aimed to assess the safety and the efficacy of endoscopic radial artery harvesting versus the conventional open approach.
Methods: A systematic review of the current literature was performed on five electronic databases. All comparative studies on endoscopic versus open radial artery harvesting were included for analysis. Primary endpoints included mortality and recurrent myocardial infarction. Secondary endpoints included graft patency, wound infection, hematoma formation, and paresthesia.
Results: Twelve studies involving 3314 patients were included for meta-analysis according to predefined selection criteria. There were no statistically significant differences in overall mortality, recurrent myocardial infarction, or graft patency between the two surgical techniques. However, patients who underwent endoscopic harvesting were found to have significantly lower incidences of wound infection, hematoma formation, and paresthesia.
Conclusions: Current literature on endoscopic harvesting of the radial artery for coronary artery bypass graft surgery is limited by relatively short follow-up periods as well as differences in patient selection and surgical techniques. In addition, there are currently no randomized controlled trials to provide robust clinical data. However, the available evidence suggests that the endoscopic approach is associated with superior perioperative outcomes without clear evidence demonstrating compromised patency or survival outcomes.