Use of the radial artery as a conduit in coronary artery bypass graft surgery is a topic of renewed interest. The possibility of using this artery as a conduit was examined as early as 1970. Early clinical trials led researchers to abandon this application because of high rates of occlusion and graft failure. At that time, graft failure was thought to be due to vasospasm or intimal hyperplasia. With advances in harvesting techniques and the use of calcium channel blockers, the reliability of the radial artery as a conduit for bypass surgery has improved. The artery can be used independently or in addition to other venous or arterial conduits. Nurses caring for patients after radial artery grafting should be aware of the implications of dissection of the artery. The unique aspects of the care of these patients have not been fully addressed in the nursing literature. This article presents a nursing standard of care for patients undergoing radial artery harvesting for coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

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