A best evidence topic in cardiac surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was ‘In patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting, is endoscopic radial artery harvesting (ERAH) superior to open radial artery harvesting in terms of postoperative complications, mortality, graft quality and patency rates?’. Altogether 130 papers were found using the reported search, of which 5 represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. Two studies were meta-analyses and 3 were randomized trials. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these papers are tabulated. In terms of graft quality, 2 randomized studies showed preserved endothelial integrity and vasoreactivity with ERAH, whereas 1 randomized study found superior endothelial function with open radial artery harvesting. Importantly, 3 studies showed graft patency was not compromised with ERAH. One meta-analysis reported no differences in graft patency between groups at 1 year [odds ratio (OR) 1.24] and up to 3-5-years follow-up (OR 1.81), as well as similar perioperative myocardial infarction rates (OR 0.80). Two meta-analyses found similar mortality in the perioperative period (OR 0.62-0.78) and up to 5 years (OR 0.64-0.67); ERAH reduced the incidence of perioperative wound complications (P-values 0.001-0.03); however, harvest times were increased with ERAH (P < 0.0005). We conclude that ERAH is non-inferior to open radial artery harvesting in terms of mortality, graft quality and patency rates, but superior in terms of reducing perioperative wound complications, with good cosmetic effect. However, these benefits come at the cost of increased harvesting time.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. All rights reserved.