Radio-median cubital / radiocephalic arteriovenous fistula at elbow to prevent vascular steal syndrome associated with brachiocephalic fistula: Review of 320 cases

Kumar, Anant; Jha, Mrigank S.; Singla, Manish; Gupta, Nitin; Raina, Pamposh; Dubey, Deepak; Srivastava, Aneesh
July 2007
Indian Journal of Urology;Jul-Sep2007, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p261
Academic Journal
Aim: Radiocephalic arteriovenous fistula (AVF) at wrist is the vascular access of choice for dialysis. In the absence of a suitable vein at the wrist, a brachiocephalic fistula at elbow is usually constructed. In order to avoid the complication of vascular steal syndrome associated with the brachiocephalic fistula, an alternative operative technique involving the creation of radio-median cubital vein / radiocephalic fistula at elbow was evaluated. Settings and Design: Retrospective study. Materials and Methods: Between January 1990 and October 2005, 320 patients underwent creation of radio-median cubital vein / radiocephalic AVF at elbow as a primary procedure or following failure of a fistula at the wrist. A transverse skin incision was made 4cm below the elbow crease, centering in line with the brachial artery pulsation. The median cubital vein / cephalic vein was anastomosed to the radial artery in end to side fashion. The surgical complications and patency of the fistulae were analyzed in the immediate and late postoperative period. Results: Mean operative time was 55 ± 7.15 min. There were no major intraoperative complications. Immediate patency and a palpable distal radial pulse were present in all the patients. Mean time to fistula maturation was 26 ± 5.2 days. No patient developed a vascular steal syndrome at a median follow-up of 54 months (range 12-168 months) Early fistula failure was seen in 16 (5%) patients whereas eight (2.5%) fistulas failed at a later date. Pseudoaneurysm of the arterialized vein at the fistula site developed in only one (0.3%) patient. Pseudoaneurysm proximal to the anastomosis developed in three (0.9%) patients. Sixteen (5%) patients requested for closure of the fistula following successful renal transplant due to unsightly dilated veins and continuous noisy murmur disturbing their sleep. Conclusions: The radio-median cubital vein / radiocephalic AV fistula at elbow is safe and is a better vascular access procedure for hemodialysis than brachiocephalic fistula because it leads to the dilatation of both the cephalic and the basilic veins with no incidence of vascular steal phenomenon in our experience. Patency and flow rates are similar to brachiocephalic fistula.


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