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March 1976

Cardiac Failure and Upper Extremity Arteriovenous Dialysis Fistulas: Case Reports and a Review of the Literature

Author Affiliations

From the departments of surgery and medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, and the Department of Surgery, St. Louis University School of Medicine and Cochran Veterans Administration Hospital, St. Louis.

Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(3):292-297. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630030026006

Nine patients with high-output cardiac failure from arteriovenous forearm dialysis fistulas are reviewed, and six new cases are presented. Decreases in cardiac output with temporary fistula occlusion ranged from 0.3 to 11.0 liters/min (mean, 2.9 liters/min); fistula flow rates varied from 0.6 to 2.9 liters/min (mean, 1.5 liters/min). Surgical correction of high-flow fistulas resulted in notable improvement of cardiac failure in 13 of 14 patients. Although cardiac failure in individuals who are receiving long-term dialysis treatment is usually caused by intrinsic cardiac disease, volume overload, or anemia, forearm fistulas with large flow rates may be an important contributing factor. Correction of these large flow rates by banding or closure can substantially improve cardiac function in selected patients.

(Arch Intern Med 136:292-297, 1976)

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