Maintenance of permanent hemodialysis vascular access patency.
The morbidity and mortality of maintenance hemodialysis patients are in large part determined by the ability of the nephrologist, dialysis staff, and vascular surgeon to establish and maintain adequate vascular access. Primary arteriovenous fistulae are the preferred form of vascular access because they are the more likely to provide long-term complication-free access. In 1994, however, the majority of patients entering hemodialysis programs have vascular anatomy unsuitable for primary arteriovenous fistula creation. Synthetic fistulae are currently the more common form of vascular access. Unfortunately, this form of vascular access is more prone to thrombosis and infection. Thrombosis is the most common cause of vascular access loss. Venous stenoses account for the majority of thromboses but can be prospectively identified by performing routine measurements of venous dialysis pressure or urea recirculation. Prospective identification of venous stenoses followed by either angioplasty or surgical revision will improve fistula patency and enhance the quality of life of the hemodialysis population.
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