Aim: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical utility of Doppler ultrasound (US) prior to native forearm arteriovenous fistula (AVF) creation.
Materials and methods: US mapping was carried out pre-operatively to evaluate the major veins and arteries in the appropriate arm. One hundred and 6 patients were identified retrospectively over 2 years with complete clinical and US data. A failed fistula was defined as an inability to provide blood flow to meet adequacy targets by 6 months (urea reduction ratio > or = 65%).
Results: Twenty-nine patients (27.4%) had successful forearm AVFs. The mean minimum forearm cephalic vein diameter (CVD) was 2.51 +/- 0.14 and 2.23 +/- 0.06 mm in successful and failed fistulae, respectively (p = 0.04). This result was primarily due to differences observed in women. A receiver operator curve analysis showed that a cutpoint of 2.6 mm for minimum forearm CVD had the greatest predictive value with a likelihood ratio of 3.94 (95% CI: 1.97 - 7.84) for fistula failure. Multivariate logistic regression analysis determined that male gender and minimum forearm CVD were the only significant predictors for fistula success with odds ratios of 3.90 (95% CI: 1.30 - 11.68) and 2.31 (95% CI: 1.00 - 5.43), respectively. The study is limited by the possibility that US results in patients may have lead to an alternative type of access being attempted.
Conclusions: US mapping prior to forearm AVF creation is of modest benefit. Only male gender and minimum forearm CVD were predictive of AVF success.