Brachiocephalic arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) makeup approximately one third of prevalent dialysis vascular accesses. The most common cause of malfunction with this access is cephalic arch stenosis (CAS). The accepted requirement for treatment of a venous stenosis lesion is ⩾50% stenosis associated with hemodynamically abnormalities. However, the correlation between percentage stenosis and a clinically significant decrease in access blood flow (Qa) is low. The critical parameter is the absolute minimal luminal diameter (MLD) of the lesion. This is the parameter that exerts the key restrictive effect on Qa and results in hemodynamic and functional implications for the access. CAS is the result of low wall shear stress (WSS) resulting from the effects of increased blood flow and the unique anatomical configuration of the CAS. Decrease in WSS has a linear relationship to increased blood flow velocity and neointimal hyperplasia exhibits an inverse relationship with WSS. The result is a stenotic lesion. The presence of downstream venous stenosis causes an inflow-outflow mismatch resulting in increased pressure within the access. Qa in this situation may be decreased, increased, or within a normal range. Over time, the increased intraluminal pressure can result in marked aneurysmal changes within the AVF, difficulties with cannulation and the dialysis treatment, and ultimately, increasing risk of access thrombosis. Complete characterization of the lesion both hemodynamically and anatomically should be the first step in developing a strategy for management. This requires both access flow measurement and angiographic imaging. Patients with CAS present a relatively broad spectrum as relates to both of these parameters. These data should be used to determine whether primary treatment of CAS should be directed toward the anatomical lesion (small MLD and low Qa) or the pathophysiology (large MLD and high Qa).
- AV fistula < dialysis access
- Cephalic arch
- cephalic arch stenosis
- management of cephalic arch stenosis
- techniques and procedures