The salvage of aneurysmal fistulae utilizing a modified buttonhole cannulation technique and multiple cannulators

Hemodial Int. 2006 Apr;10(2):193-200. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-4758.2006.00094.x.


We describe the St Michael's Hospital (SMH) modified buttonhole (BH) cannulation technique as a method that offers a solution for fistulae with aneurysmal dilatation due to repetitive cannulation in a restricted area. This is a prospective cohort study of 14 chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients with problematic fistulae (marked aneurysmal formation and thinning of the overlying skin, bleeding during treatment, and prolonged hemostasis post-HD) because of repetitive, localized cannulation. Each patient was followed for 12 months. The protocol was as follows: creation of tunnel tracks by 1 to 3 experienced cannulators per patient, using sharp needles. After the tunnel tracks were established and cannulation was easily achieved with dull needles, additional cannulators were incorporated with the guidance of a mentor. Bleeding from cannulation sites during dialysis ceased within 2 weeks and skin damage resolved within 6 months in all patients. Hemostasis time postdialysis decreased from 24 to 15 min. Cannulation pain scores decreased significantly. Access flows and dynamic venous pressure measurements remained unchanged. No interventions were required to maintain access patency. In 2 cases, the aneurysms became much less evident. Complications included one episode of septic arthritis and one contact dermatitis. A third patient developed acute bacterial endocarditis 9 months following completion of her follow-up. The SMH modified BH cannulation technique can salvage problematic fistulae, prevent further damage, and induce healing of the skin in the areas of repetitive cannulation. This technique can be successfully achieved by multiple cannulators in a busy full-care HD unit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aneurysm / etiology
  • Aneurysm / therapy*
  • Arteriovenous Shunt, Surgical / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Occlusion, Vascular / etiology
  • Graft Occlusion, Vascular / therapy
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Renal Dialysis / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Salvage Therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Patency