Arteriovenous fistula combined with brachial artery superficialization is effective in patients with a high risk of maturation failure

Masaaki Murakami, Genichi Sakaguchi, Noriko Mori
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2017, 65 (2): 452-458

OBJECTIVE: In patients with a high risk of fistula immaturity, we created arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) combined with brachial artery superficialization. With this procedure, the superficialized arteries are used as drawing routes and the AVFs as returning routes. This is a technical report about AVFs combined with brachial artery superficialization.

METHODS: Twenty-four consecutive patients with a high risk of fistula immaturity who underwent AVFs with brachial artery superficialization were included in this single-center retrospective study. High risk for maturation failure was defined with a combination of the vessel size measured by ultrasound and the length of the straight segment for cannulation. The indications were as follows: (1) a vein diameter of <2 mm or an artery diameter at the point of anastomosis of <2 mm (n = 9); and (2) a vein cannulation site of <10 cm long, which is too short for two cannulations (n = 15). Initially, after careful examination of the vessels by duplex ultrasound imaging, we created an AVF at an appropriate site. Subsequently, the brachial artery was exposed and the side branches were ligated. The brachial artery was mobilized to the ventral aspect of the upper arm, and the subcutaneous tissue under the brachial artery was sutured. A skin flap was then placed over the transposed brachial artery.

RESULTS: One patient died of sepsis due to central venous catheter infection before the initial cannulation. All other patients underwent successful two-needle cannulation with a prescribed blood flow. The median age of the patients was 78 years. The first successful cannulation was achieved at a median of 17 days (range, 12-547) after AVF creation. Two patients underwent cannulation >30 days after surgery (58 and 547 days) because their vascular accesses were created before initiation of hemodialysis treatment. Median postoperative follow-up duration was 524 days (range, 15-1394 days). Nine patients (38%) died during follow-up of unrelated causes. At 12 postoperative months, primary patency was 75% and secondary patency was 94%.

CONCLUSIONS: AVF with brachial artery superficialization is a safe and effective technique for patients with a high risk of fistula immaturity.

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