Decompensated high-output congestive heart failure in a patient with AVF and the role of right heart catheterization: a case study

Hemodial Int. 2012 Oct:16 Suppl 1:S58-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-4758.2012.00749.x.


A 70-year-old Caucasian male presented 8 months postcadaveric renal transplant with slowly progressive shortness of breath, abdominal distention, and cough for a duration of a few days. Thorough evaluation found him to have severe pulmonary hypertension (PH) on echocardiogram with decompensated high-output congestive heart failure. A right heart catheterization was done, which confirmed elevated right-sided pressures and high cardiac output. The mean pulmonary artery pressure, on a Swan-Ganz catheter, improved from 37 to 30 mmHg on partial manual occlusion of his still functioning hemodialysis arteriovenous fistula. Subsequently, the patient underwent ligation of the fistula and this led to gradual improvement in his symptoms. Follow-up right heart catheterization and echocardiogram showed marked improvement and normalization of right heart pressures. We recommend that patients with arteriovenous fistula should undergo close monitoring for development of early signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure and screening for PH by echocardiography post-kidney transplant. Right heart catheterization should be considered if screening is positive. Risk and benefit of fistula closure should be weighed in face of reduced survival from PH in dialysis patients and closure should be considered in post-transplant patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiac Catheterization*
  • Cardiac Output, High* / etiology
  • Cardiac Output, High* / physiopathology
  • Cardiac Output, High* / therapy
  • Heart Failure* / etiology
  • Heart Failure* / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / therapy
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Renal Dialysis*