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Salvage of Inaccessible Arteriovenous Fistulas in Obese Patients: A Review of 132 Brachiocephalic Fistulas

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The two main factors leading to a functional fistula are maturity and accessibility. The aim of this review was to describe a technique of superficialization for inaccessible brachiocephalic fistulas, and to identify the patients that benefit from superficialization. One hundred and thirty-two brachiocephalic arteriovenous fistulas developed from November 2003 to December 2006 were reviewed for primary maturation. In the mature group, patients were evaluated for fistula accessibility. Inaccessible fistulas were selected for superficialization via our technique of vein mobilization using small skip incisions. Analysis of superficialized and nonsuperficialized groups included age, demographics, and comorbidities. Ninety-nine patients were in the mature group, and 33 in the immature group; primary nonmaturation was 25 per cent. Analysis within the mature group was between nonsuperficialized (n = 81) and superficialized (n = 18) patients. The superficialized group had less hypertension (83% vs 98%, P < 0.05), significantly higher BMI (31 vs 27, P < 0.05), and was mostly female (78% vs 49%, P < 0.05). All superficialized fistulas accommodated successful hemodialysis postoperatively. To conclude, patients with mature but inaccessible fistulas were salvaged by superficialization. This population had significantly higher BMI, less hypertension, and female prevalence. Identifying these patients is important because salvage of their fistula can prevent premature progression to alternate autogenous arteriovenous access procedures.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee

Publication date: 01 August 2009

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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