Background: Use of routine preoperative ultrasonography to determine the optimum site for haemodialysis access surgery increases the number of distal arteriovenous fistulas formed and improves overall patency rates. Nevertheless its use in all patients is time consuming and costly. This study examined whether clinical parameters could be used to determine the requirement for preoperative ultrasonography.
Methods: Between March 2002 and October 2003, 145 consecutive patients were reviewed in the vascular access clinic. Patients were first assessed clinically, a site for vascular access surgery was proposed, and the need for radiological mapping studies recorded. A second, blinded, clinician determined the site for vascular access surgery using ultrasonography. The correlation between clinical and ultrasonographic findings was then examined.
Results: Ultrasonography was considered unnecessary using clinical criteria in 106 patients. Subsequent ultrasonographic mapping altered the management of only one patient. In contrast, the management of 18 of the 39 patients in whom ultrasonography was thought necessary was influenced by radiological imaging. A 1-year primary patency rate of 77.0 per cent was achieved following vascular access surgery on the study population.
Conclusion: Clinical parameters could be used to determine the need for preoperative vascular ultrasonographic mapping; imaging was not required in the majority of patients.