Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Spasm of arterial grafts in coronary artery bypass grafting surgery is still a clinical problem, and refractory spasm can occasionally be lethal. Perioperative spasm in bypass grafts and coronary arteries has been reported in 0.43% of all coronary artery bypass grafting surgery, but this may be an underestimate. Spasm can develop not only in the internal mammary artery but more frequently in the right gastroepiploic and radial artery. The mechanism of spasm can involve many pathways, particularly those involving regulation of the intracellular calcium concentration. Endothelial dysfunction also plays a role in spasm. Depending on the clinical scenario, the possibility of spasm during and after coronary artery bypass grafting should be confirmed by angiography. If present, immediate intraluminal injection of vasodilators is often effective, although other procedures such as an intraaortic balloon pump or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation may also become necessary to salvage the patient. Prevention of spasm involves many considerations, and the principles are discussed in this review article.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Thorac Surg

Publication Date





1222 - 1229


Coronary Artery Bypass, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Vasospasm, Female, Graft Rejection, Humans, Intraoperative Complications, Male, Mammary Arteries, Muscle, Smooth, Vascular, Postoperative Complications, Prognosis, Radial Artery, Risk Assessment, Spasm, Survival Rate