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A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2008 June;49(3):371-9

language: English

Comparison of harmonic scalpel and high-frequency electrocautery in radial artery harvesting

Erkut B., Unlu Y., Karapolat S., Ugur Kocogullari C., Ceviz M., Becit N., Kocak H.

Department of Cardiovascular Surgery Medical Faculty, Ataturk University, Erzurum, Turkey


Aim. We evaluated the effects of the radial artery on the functional outcomes and endothelium when the harvest was made either by harmonic scalpel or by high-frequency electrocautery.
Methods. Between 2002 and 2007, 982 patients with coronary artery diseases were operated for coronary artery revascularization. The radial arteries were harvested for 101 of these patients and divided into two groups depending on the use of the harmonic scalpel (Group A; N=51) and the high-frequency electrocautery (Group B; N=50). Harvesting time, use of hemostatic clips, frequency of spasm, in situ free flow, and endothelial damage were compared between the two groups.
Results. Conventional high-frequency electrocautery technique used 8.7±3.9 hemostatic clips versus 1.5±1 clips (P<0.001). In situ free blood flow was 85±5.5 mL/min for Group B versus 114±21.7 mL/min for Group A (P<0.006). The endothelial damage of the radial arteries taken down with the harmonic scalpel was significantly less than when taken down with the high-frequency electrocautery (P<0.05). There was no statistically significant difference in terms of harvesting time and spasm between the two groups (P>0.05).
Conclusion. Ultrasonic dissection with harmonic scalpel of the radial artery is associated with a decreased use of hemostatic clips. Moreover, the harmonic scalpel has a positive effect on endothelial preservation and it was associated with increased free blood flow of the radial artery.

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