Arteriovenous fistulae (AVF) are commonly used in dialysis treatment of uremic patients. However, many AVF create problems and have to be re-examined. Problems arise in the cannulation site and must be treated with antibiotics, and stenosis, both in the arterial and in the venous side of the AVF. In the worst case, the AVF must be replaced for treatment to continue. However, this can only be repeated once before the AVF site is no longer viable. This increases the discomfort, the morbidity and the mortality of the dialysis patient. Several kinds of AVF were studied to determine whether flow disturbances give rise to these complications. Many studies have already demonstrated the importance of hemodynamic factors in vascular disease pathogenesis. These factors include: the pulsatility of flow, the elasticity of the vessel, the non-Newtonian blood, flow behavior and, very importantly for AVF, the vessel geometry. In model studies, intimal changes have been observed in bends and bifurcations, regions of vessel construction and vessel stenosis. In these regions, blood flow changes abruptly and this contributes to arterial disease. We prepared several one-to-one, true-to-scale elastic silicon rubber models of different AVF. The AVF models were based on angiographic studies of chronic dialysis patients and on AVF from the arms of cadavers. The models had a similar compliance to that of the human blood vessel. Flow was visualized using photoelasticity apparatus and a birefringent blood-like fluid. This method is suitable to analyze the spatial configuration of flow profiles, to differentiate laminar flow from disturbed flow, and to visualize flow separation, vortex formation and secondary flow. It was found that AVF create disturbances that are not found under normal physiological flow conditions. The X-formed AVF was very unsatisfactory, creating significant flow disturbances. The AVF had high velocity fluctuations. These could lead, for example, to aneurysm formation. A better configuration would be an end-to-end AVF. However, this formation creates other complications. For example, there is not enough blood to the hand and parts of the hand lose feeling. The recommended AVF would be an end-to-side anastomosis. In this case, attention is needed for placement geometry, to minimize additional flow disturbances. Several models as well as patient angiographic studies are discussed.
Fluidodynamic evaluation of arteriovenous fistulae for hemodialysis / Liepsch, D.; Pallotti, G.; Pettazzoni, P.; Coli, L.; Donati, G.; Rossi, C.; Losinno, F.; Freyrie, A.; Stefoni, S.. - In: JOURNAL OF VASCULAR ACCESS. - ISSN 1129-7298. - 4:3(2003), pp. 92-97. [10.1177/112972980300400303]
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