Avoid routine ultrasound and fistulogram evaluations of well-functioning dialysis accesses.
Unfortunately, angioaccess for hemodialysis fails at a high annual rate. Therefore, it is appropriate to evaluate access sites with an ultrasound test whenever they appear to be malfunctioning. However, this is only necessary if the dialysis center notices unusual function on the machine (flow rates <300 or >1000, recirc >10%), abnormal bleeding after dialysis, or other clinical indicators such as enlarging pseudoaneurysm, pain, and/or suspected graft infection.
Under some circumstances, a fistulogram may be required. However, these invasive procedures have slight risks and are more costly than ultrasound studies. Therefore, they should not be performed routinely but only when clinically indicated and usually after a confirmatory ultrasound test. Performing ultrasounds at set intervals when the function of the access is normal is not needed.
The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) formed a task force to gather initial recommendations for a list of procedures that should not be performed, performed rarely or performed only under certain circumstances. These draft recommendations were then sent to the Public and Professional Outreach Committee, which refined them before presenting them to its reporting council, the Clinical Practice Council. The Council reviewed the citations and ensured all recommendations aligned with SVS Clinical Practice Guidelines before submitting them to the Executive Committee of the SVS Board of Directors for approval. You can review the society’s conflict of interest and disclosure policy at www.vsweb.org/COIindustrypolicy.
Navuluri R, Regalado S. The KDOQI 2006 Vascular Access Update and Fistula First Program Synopsis. Semin Intervent Radiol. 2009 Jun;26(2):122-4.
Sidawy AN, Spergel LM, Besarab A, Allon M, Jennings WC, Padberg FT Jr, Murad MH, Montori VM, O’Hare AM, Calligaro KD, Macsata RA, Lumsden AB, Ascher E; Society for Vascular Surgery. The Society for Vascular Surgery: clinical practice guidelines for the surgical placement and maintenance of arteriovenous hemodialysis access. J Vasc Surg. 2008 Nov;48(5 Suppl):2S-25S.
Update on Dialysis Intervention: surveillance of hemodialysis vascular access. Semin Intervent Radiol. Jun 2009; 26(2): 130–8.