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Monitoring dialysis arteriovenous fistulae: it’s in our hands

OPEN The journal of vascular access | 20 Apr 2013

L Coentrão and L Turmel-Rodrigues
Vascular access problems are a daily occurrence in hemodialysis units. Loss of patency of the vascular access limits hemodialysis delivery and may result in underdialysis that leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Despite the known superiority of autogenous fistulae over grafts, autogenous fistulae also suffer from frequent development of stenosis and subsequent thrombosis. International guidelines recommend programmes for detection of stenosis and consequent correction in an attempt to reduce the rate of thrombosis. Physical examination of autogenous fistulae has recently been revisited as an important element in the assessment of stenotic lesions. Prospective observational studies have consistently demonstrated that physical examination performed by trained physicians is an accurate method for the diagnosis of fistula stenosis and, therefore, should be part of all surveillance protocols of the vascular access. However, to optimize hemodialysis access surveillance, hemodialysis practitioners may need to improve their skills in performing physical examination. The purpose of this article is to review the basics and drawbacks of physical examination for dialysis arteriovenous fistulae and to provide the reader with its diagnostic accuracy in the detection of arteriovenous fistula dysfunction, based on current published literature.
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Chronic kidney disease, Renal replacement therapy, Dialysis, Cimino fistula, Arteriovenous fistula, Hemodialysis, Fistula
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