Costoclavicular venous decompression in patients with threatened arteriovenous hemodialysis access.
BACKGROUND: Autologous arteriovenous fistulas are frequently threatened by central venous obstruction. Although this is frequently ascribed to indwelling catheters and neointimal venous remodeling, we believe that extrinsic compression of the subclavian vein as it passes through the costoclavicular junction (CCJ) may play a significant role in a subset of dialysis patients. METHODS: We reviewed our experience with CCJ decompression for arteriovenous fistula dysfunction at our institution. Decompression followed principles for venous thoracic outlet syndrome: bony decompression with thorough venolysis, followed by central venography through the fistula and endoluminal treatment, if necessary. Patients underwent transaxillary first rib resection, or claviculectomy in the supine position in cases when reconstruction was anticipated. In all cases, the minimum exposure included 360° mobilization of the subclavian vein with resection of surrounding cicatrix to the jugular/innominate junction. RESULTS: A total of 10 patients requiring decompression between November 2008 and February 2010 were included. All had severe arm swelling, four had dialysis dysfunction (postcannulation bleeding or maturation failure), two had severe arm pain, and one had a pseudoaneurysm. All patients had subclavian vein stenosis at the CCJ by venography or intravascular ultrasound. The majority of patients had balloon dilation (mean: 2.3 attempts) without success. Six patients underwent transaxillary first rib resection and four had medial claviculectomy. No patients required surgical venous reconstruction. In all, 80% of fistulas remained functionally patent, and all but one patient (who underwent ligation) had complete relief of upper arm edema. Median hospital length of stay was 2 days and mean follow-up was 7 months (range, 1-13). There was no mortality or significant morbidity. Five patients later required central venoplasty (four subclavian, mean: 1.8 attempts and one innominate) and three had stents placed (two subclavian, one innominate). CONCLUSION: A significant number of patients with threatened AV access owing to central venous obstruction have lesions attributable to compression at the CCJ. Surgical decompression by means of first rib or clavicular resection and thorough external venoloysis allowed symptom-free functional salvage in 80% of these patients, all of whom would have lost their access otherwise. Because surgical reconstruction is seldom needed, the transaxillary approach may be preferable to claviculectomy. This lesion should be specifically looked for, and principles of venous thoracic outlet syndrome treatment seem to apply and be effective.
Glass, C; Dugan, M; Gillespie, D; Doyle, A; Illig, K
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