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AIMS: To determine the reproducibility of flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and nitrate-mediated dilation (NMD) in the assessment of radial artery vasomotor function, and to examine the effect of transradial catheterisation on radial artery injury and recovery.
METHODS: Radial artery FMD and NMD were examined in 20 volunteers and 20 patients on four occasions (two visits at least 24 hours apart, with two assessments at each visit). In a further 10 patients, radial artery FMD was assessed in the catheterised arm prior to, at 24 hours and 3 months following cardiac catheterisation.
RESULTS: There were no differences in baseline radial artery diameter (2.7±0.4 mm vs 2.7±0.4 mm), FMD (13.4±6.4 vs 12.89±5.5%) or NMD (13.6±3.8% vs 10.1±4.3%) between healthy volunteers and patients (p>0.05 for all comparisons). Mean differences for within and between day FMD were 2.53% (95% CIs -15.5% to 20.5%) and -4.3% (-18.3% to 9.7%) in patients. Compared to baseline, radial artery FMD was impaired at 24 hours (8.7±4.1% vs 3.9±2.9%, p=0.015) but not 3 months (8.7±4.1% vs 6.2±4.4, p=0.34) following transradial catheterisation.
CONCLUSIONS: Radial FMD is impaired early after transradial catheterisation but appears to recover by 3 months. While test-retest variability was demonstrated, our findings suggest that transradial access for cardiac catheterisation may afford a potential model of vascular injury and repair in vivo in man.
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