Incidence and outcome of radial artery infections following cardiac surgery

Ismaïl El-Hamamsy, Nicolas Dürrleman, Louis Mathieu Stevens, Tack Ki Leung, Sylvie Theoret, Michel Carrier, Louis P. Perrault

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37 Scopus citations


Background. Radial artery infections secondary to catheterization for blood pressure monitoring are rare but potentially serious complications. The objective of the study was to evaluate the incidence, the risk factors and the evolution of radial artery infections following cardiac surgery. Methods. A retrospective review of 8300 patients undergoing cardiac surgery between 1998 and 2002 at the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) was undertaken. All patients with superficial radial artery infections, infected radial artery pseudoaneurysms, and arterial catheter-related bacteremia were considered using prospective global surveillance of all nosocomial infections over the study period by an infection control nurse. Results. Thirteen patients with radial infections were encountered (0.2%) with bacteremia occurring in 9 patients (0.15%). Five patients developed infected radial artery pseudoaneurysms (0.05%) and 5 patients developed subsequent sternal wound infections. Two patients died in their early postoperative evolution. Mean patient age was 67 years old and mean duration of cannulation was 5.8 days. Only 1 patient had diabetes. Seven of 13 patients were positive for Staphylococcus aureus (54%). All patients had undergone cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) for various procedures. All superficial infections responded well to antibiotic therapy. Early surgical intervention is essential in cases of infected radial artery pseudoaneurysms. Conclusions. The postoperative state and cardiopulmonary bypass put patients at risk for infectious complications. Strict systematic changing of arterial lines on a timely basis is unwarranted in our opinion. A high suspicion index, aggressive surgical treatment of bacterial arteritis and appropriate intravenous antibiotics are essential to improve the prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-804
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


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