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OBJECTIVE: Radial arteries are increasingly used as conduits for coronary artery bypass grafts, but perioperative graft vasospasm continues to be a concern. Phenoxybenzamine, verapamil/nitroglycerin solution, and papaverine have been advocated as topical antispasmodic agents. We compared the relative efficacies and durations of action of these agents. METHODS: Isometric tension developed in response to clinically important vasoconstrictors was measured in 100 radial artery rings (from patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting, n = 25) after 15 minutes of ex vivo incubation with phenoxybenzamine, verapamil/nitroglycerin solution, papaverine, or vehicle (control). Duration of action was assessed by measuring responses to vasoconstrictors in antispasmodic pretreated and control rings at intervals through 5 hours. RESULTS: Verapamil/nitroglycerin solution reduced vasoconstriction in response to epinephrine, angiotensin II, prostaglandin F(2alpha), and phenylephrine but its effect had almost completely waned after 5 hours. Phenoxybenzamine prevented vasoconstriction in response to epinephrine, dopamine, and phenylephrine, with its effect lasting at least 5 hours. Papaverine had limited antispasmodic efficacy and prevented vasoconstriction in response to potassium (60 mmol/L) and phenylephrine for only 1 hour at the longest. CONCLUSIONS: Verapamil/nitroglycerin solution has a broad efficacy against a range of vasoconstrictors but a limited duration of action. Papaverine has the shortest duration of action. Phenoxybenzamine is an effective agent with a prolonged duration of action, specifically preventing catecholamine mediated vasospasm of radial artery conduits.

Original publication




Journal article


J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg

Publication Date





1798 - 1805


Administration, Topical, Coronary Artery Bypass, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Male, Middle Aged, Nitroglycerin, Papaverine, Parasympatholytics, Phenoxybenzamine, Radial Artery, Solutions, Vasoconstriction, Vasoconstrictor Agents, Vasodilator Agents, Verapamil