The Clinical Utility of Doppler Ultrasound Prior to Arteriovenous Fistula Creation
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Arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is the preferred access for long-term hemodialysis, with superior long-term patency rates; however, early failure rates are significant. Recent evidence has brought into question the preferred site of AVF creation in many patient groups. A preoperative test that could reliably predict the outcome of a proposed AVF would be of great benefit. Doppler ultrasound has been the most extensively studied and widely used test to guide access creation. Accurate and validated measurements of internal vessel diameter, both arterial and venous, and blood flow in the upper extremity are obtainable by Doppler ultrasound. Studies evaluating the utility of Doppler ultrasound prior to AVF creation suggest that vessel size and blood flow are predictive of AVF outcome. An AVF created using a cephalic vein and/or radial artery smaller than 1.5-2.0 mm is likely to fail; such preoperative data may indicate that an upper arm AVF should be the primary access attempted. Further prospective studies are needed to evaluate the utility of Doppler ultrasound.
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