25 June 2001
Blood flow imaging using color doppler has proven effective in predicting graft failures in hemodialysis patients, but its effect on native arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) is not well known. This study was performed to investigate whether measurements of the access blood flow can be used as predictors of an early failure of a native AVF in hemodialysis patients. Fifty-three consecutive patients who received native AVF operations were included in this study. Access blood flow was measured at 1 week after operations, and AVF function was followed for 4 months. During the follow-up, access failures developed in 10 patients at 9.8 ± 3.5 weeks. AVF blood flow was significantly lower in the failure group (n = 10) than in the patent group (n = 43) (450 ± 214 vs. 814 ± 348 ml/min, p = 0.003). The incidence of access failures was higher in the patients with a flow <350 ml/min (n = 9) compared to the patients with a flow >350 ml/min (n = 44) (55.5 vs. 11.3%, p = 0.008). The diameters of veins were significantly smaller in the failure group than in the patent group (3.5 ± 0.5 vs. 4.1 ± 0.7 mm, p = 0.018). The incidence of diabetes mellitus was higher in the failure group than in the patent group (90 vs. 51%, p = 0.025). However, age, sex, duration from an operation to first cannulation, and different AVF sites did not make a significant difference between the two groups. Our data suggest that access blood flow measurements using color doppler ultrasound during early postoperative periods are useful parameters in predicting an early failure of a native AVF in hemodialysis patients.