Upper extremity ischemia and hemodialysis vascular access

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2004 Jan;27(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2003.10.007.


Digital ischemia in dialysis patients due to arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) is a rare condition, occurring in 4% of patients. The etiology is different from lower limb ischemia. Blood shunting through the AVF may cause stealing of blood and hypoperfusion in distal tissues, leading to pain, discolorisation and ulcers. High-flow AVFs have greater risk on ischemia than normal flow AVFs, however combined with peripheral arteriosclerotic disease the latter may also leads to ischemia. A non-invasive and angiographic diagnosis is of importance to determine treatment options. Augmentation of arterial inflow by interventional techniques and/or AVF bloodflow-reducing surgical procedures may eliminate pain and heal ulcers. The best results are obtained by bypassing the arteriovenous anastomotic site and interruption of steal phenomenon by ligation of the artery distal to the AV anastomosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty, Balloon
  • Arm / blood supply*
  • Arteriovenous Shunt, Surgical / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Ischemia / etiology*
  • Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Ischemia / therapy
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures