Purpose: Provision of lifelong angioaccess for hemodialysis generally requires multiple procedures. To extend the availability of each extremity as an access site, we have used the transposed basilic vein for fistula construction since 1988. Our purpose is to present our initial experience, with follow-up of 30 months.
Methods: We have used the transposed proximal basilic vein in 65 procedures to construct an autogenous arteriovenous fistula (AVF) to the brachial artery in 58 patients without suitable superficial venous anatomy. There were 25 males and 33 females, with a mean age of 47 years (range 10 to 77). The basilic vein transposition was the initial angioaccess procedure in only 25% of cases and secondary in 75%. Three additional patients underwent exploration of an inadequate basilic vein with subsequent prosthetic grafting.
Results: There were no operative deaths. Two postoperative complications included a wound infection and a transient steal syndrome. The actuarial life-table patency rate for all successfully completed AVFs was 49% at 30 months. Late revisions with continued patency were required in 11 cases, including repair of a focal stenosis in six, pseudoaneurysm resection in two, and thrombectomy in one. Sixty-seven percent of patients who required subsequent prosthetic grafting for a failed basilic vein AVF had an ipsilateral procedure. Patient preference for the opposite arm was the usual indication for contralateral grafting in the remainder.
Conclusions: The transposed basilic vein AVF was technically feasible in 95% of cases, can frequently be performed in patients with multiple previous access procedures, does not compromise the arm for future prosthetic grafting, and has a long-term patency rate that is comparable to more traditional autologous AVFs. This underused procedure should be considered before placement of polytetrafluoroethylene graft for long-term angioaccess.