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      Prophylactic Ligature of AV Fistula Prevents High Output Heart Failure after Kidney Transplantation


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          Background: Arteriovenous (AV) fistulas are considered the gold standard for ensuring safe and long-term vascular access in patients with haemodialysis-dependent end-stage renal disease. However, previous studies demonstrated that high-flow AV fistulas might add additional cardiovascular burden in the post-transplant setting, leading to frequent fistula closure in this population. Currently, there is no consensus regarding management of high-flow fistulas in post-transplant patients with stable kidney function. The present randomized controlled trial examines the effect of prophylactic AV fistula closure on high-output heart failure. Methods: Twenty-eight kidney transplant patients with stable graft function, absence of pre-existing severe cardiac failure, and brachial arterial flow rate of at least 1,500 mL/min were recruited and randomized in a 1:1 ratio to an intervention and control group, respectively. The intervention group was subject to immediate fistula ligature. Patients within the control group were referred to fistula ligature only if the main study endpoint high-output heart failure was reached. The latter was defined by the presence of at least 1 clinical sign (i.e., worsening NYHA score) and at least 2 of the following echocardiographic parameters: diameter of right atrium (major) >53 mm, right atrium (minor) >44 mm, inferior vena cava ≥21 mm, right pulmonary artery >20 mm, TAPSE <16 mm, systolic pulmonal artery pressure >40 mm Hg, and/or left ventricular eccentricity index <1. During a 24-month follow-up period, quarterly measurements of kidney function, NT-proBNP, and lactate dehydrogenase as well as a biannual echocardiographic check-up were performed. Results: High-output heart failure attributable to high-flow fistula was reported in 5 of 13 control patients (38.5%), whereas no patient in the intervention group presented with clinical and echocardiographic signs of high-output heart failure during the follow-up period. Thus, prophylactic ligature of high-flow fistulas avoided high-output heart failure in our patient population ( p = 0.013). Three patients in the control group, however, had to undergo fistula ligature due to aneurysm formation ( n = 2) and steal phenomenon ( n = 1). Median NT-proBNP levels decreased from 317 ng/L pre-ligature to 223 ng/L post-ligature ( p = 0.003). Serum creatinine levels did not significantly differ before and after AV fistula ligature (1.69 vs. 1.60 mg/dL, respectively, p = 0.059). Improvement of echocardiographic findings (e.g., a decrease in systolic pulmonary arterial pressure) was found in 7 of 8 ligature patients but did not reach statistical significance. Conclusion: Prophylactic ligature of high-flow AV fistulas after kidney transplantation can avoid high-output heart failure, and a more liberal approach to close AV fistulas might be justified.

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          Effects of Arteriovenous Fistula Ligation on Cardiac Structure and Function in Kidney Transplant Recipients

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            Reduction of left ventricular diameter and mass after surgical arteriovenous fistula closure in renal transplant recipients.

            Left ventricular hypertrophy and dilatation is a frequent finding in kidney transplant recipients, which may be favored by the persistent patency of arteriovenous fistula. The purpose of the current study was to prospectively investigate whether surgical closure of the fistula allows reduction of abnormalities of left ventricular morphology in stable renal transplant patients. Furthermore, we studied the ability of preoperative echocardiographic and noninvasive hemodynamic measurements, including the effects of a temporary occlusion of the fistula, to predict postoperative left ventricular diameter and mass reduction. Seventeen kidney transplant recipients referred for surgical arteriovenous fistula closure were prospectively studied. Standard echocardiographic parameters, heart rate, and blood pressure were assessed preoperatively at baseline and during an acute pneumatic fistula occlusion. These measurements were repeated 3 to 10 weeks after surgical closure. Six kidney transplant recipients with patent arteriovenous fistulas referred for routine echocardiographic follow-up served as a control group. Surgical fistula closure decreased left ventricular end-diastolic diameter and mass indexes (29.9+/-2.4 to 27.4+/-2.1 mm/m2, P<0.001, and 141+/-37 to 132+/-39 g/m2, P<0.05, respectively), whereas no changes were seen in controls after a similar delay. Postoperative left ventricular end-diastolic diameter and mass reductions correlated best with the increases in total peripheral resistance (r=0.85, P<0.0001) and mean arterial blood pressure (r=0.64, P=0.006) during pneumatic occlusion, respectively. Surgical closure of arteriovenous fistula reduces left ventricular diameter and mass in kidney transplant recipients. Increases in blood pressure and total peripheral resistance induced by temporary fistula occlusion are the best predictors of these morphological changes.
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              Arteriovenous Fistula Toxicity

              The arteriovenous fistula (AVF) has been a mainstay of hemodialysis treatments and the preferred access route since its inception in the 1960s, due to its longevity and resistance to infection. However, the AVF is not benign. There is significant primary failure, as well as cardiac, vascular, and other, less well recognized, complications. Together, they represent toxicity, to which considerable morbidity and mortality can be attached. Official policy, based on guidelines where AVF toxicity is given short shrift, drives an increase in use of these devices, and may have undesired consequences.

                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                July 2020
                13 July 2020
                : 51
                : 7
                : 511-519
                [_a] aDepartment of Internal Medicine IV – Nephrology and Hypertension, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
                [_b] bDepartment of Internal Medicine III – Cardiology and Angiology, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
                [_c] cDepartment for Surgery, University Hospital for Vascular Surgery, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
                Author notes
                *Martin Tiefenthaler, Department of Internal Medicine IV – Nephrology and Hypertension, Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, AT–6020 Innsbruck (Austria), martin.tiefenthaler@i-med.ac.at
                508957 Am J Nephrol 2020;51:511–519
                © 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                : 30 March 2020
                : 26 May 2020
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, Pages: 9
                Transplantation: Research Article

                Cardiovascular Medicine,Nephrology
                Fistula ligature,High-flow fistula,Kidney transplantation,Heart failure


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