Purpose: Cephalic arch stenosis (CAS) is a recently recognized cause of dysfunction in autogenous hemodialysis fistulas. The prevalence of this lesion among dysfunctional autogenous fistulas is described, as are outcomes after percutaneous therapy.
Materials and methods: A cohort of 177 dysfunctional autogenous fistulas treated over a 48-month period was retrospectively analyzed for the presence of CAS. Of these, 116 (66%) were radiocephalic fistulas and 61 (34%) were brachiocephalic fistulas. CAS was identified in 26 fistulas among 24 patients. Fifty dilations and three stent placements in the cephalic arch were performed. Surveillance was conducted after percutaneous therapy by means of ultrasound dilution technique and measurement of dialysis flow rates. Patency rates were estimated with use of the Kaplan-Meier method. No patients were lost to follow-up.
Results: The prevalence of CAS was 15% (26 of 177). There was a significant difference in the prevalence of CAS between brachiocephalic and radiocephalic fistulas (39% vs 2%; P <.001). High-pressure noncompliant balloon catheters were required in 29 of 50 dilations (58%) to efface the lesion. Primary patency rates (+/-SE) at 3, 6, and 12 months were 76% +/- 8, 42% +/- 10, and 23% +/- 9, respectively. Primary assisted patency rates (+/-SE) at 3, 6, and 12 months were 96% +/- 4, 83% +/- 8, and 75% +/- 10. Complications occurred in three cases (6%). A major complication with rupture of the cephalic arch resulted in thrombosis and fistula loss (n = 1); two minor complications of cephalic arch rupture were salvaged with placement of a Wallstent (n = 1) or prolonged balloon inflation (n = 1).
Conclusions: CAS is common among failing brachiocephalic arteriovenous fistulas. With aggressive percutaneous intervention and surveillance, favorable primary assisted patency rates can be achieved.