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October 1, 2003

Use of the Radial Artery for Hemodialysis Access

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California[[ndash]]San Francisco, East Bay, Oakland (Dr Goldstein); and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY (Mr Gupta).

Arch Surg. 2003;138(10):1130-1134. doi:10.1001/archsurg.138.10.1130

Hypothesis  Under limited conditions, use of the radial artery (RA) for hemodialysis access in patients with end-stage renal disease is safe and effective.

Methods  The nondominant upper extremities of 211 consecutive patients with end-stage renal disease were evaluated with duplex ultrasonography to assess RA and ulnar artery (UA) flow contributions to their hands. Diameters and peak systolic velocities were measured in each artery, from which peak flows were calculated. Arteries of less than 2.0 mm in diameter were deemed unusable for access procedures or inadequate as the sole supply to the hand. Flow rates within 20% of each other were considered equivalent, and the RA was dominant if its flow exceeded that of the UA by 20%. Radial arteries with peak flow rates of less than 125 mL/min were judged inadequate, and RAs were not used in patients with peak UA flow rates of less than 100 mL/min.

Results  The RA flow was equivalent to the UA flow in 56 patients and was dominant in 120. Flow through the RA was adequate in 166 patients, but 41 had insufficient UA flow contributions and 15 had unsatisfactory UA diameters. Overall, 25 patients had inadequate RA diameters, 72 patients had inadequate UA diameters, and 16 patients had insufficient calibers of both vessels.

Conclusions  The RA carried sufficient flow to support a shunt or fistula in 78.7% of patients, but it would have been unwise to use it in about one third of those cases because of potentially insufficient perfusion to the hand by the UA. The RA could therefore be safely used in 49.8% of patients with end-stage renal disease evaluated for hemodialysis access.