Creating an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is complicated by the gradual increase in the average age of patients initiating chronic haemodialysis treatment and by the greater prevalence of pathologies that impact the cardiovascular system.
In the past, the choice of which vessels to use for the creation of the AVF was essentially based on the physical examination of the upper limbs. Current international guidelines suggest that a colour doppler ultrasound (DUS) should be performed to complete the physical examination. Similarly, vascular ultrasound is fundamental in the post-operative phase for appropriately monitoring the access.
We have conducted a retrospective analysis on the use of DUS in clinical practice in our centre, in order to determine the repercussions on vascular access survival. To this end, we identified three phases, according to the methods that were used for pre-operative vascular evaluation and monitoring of the AVF, that saw the progressive integration of clinical and ultrasound parameters.
The analysis of the data highlighted a statistically significant higher rate of survival for all vascular accesses, evaluated as a whole, and for distal AVFs, in the third phase, despite a greater percentage of patients over 75 (48% vs 28%).
In conclusion, we believe that an approach integrating clinical and ultrasound evaluation is indispensable to identify the most suitable AVF site and guarantee its efficiency over time.
Keywords: haemodialysis, arteriovenous fistula, colour doppler ultrasound, monitoring, vascular access