Novel use of infrared thermal imaging to predict arteriovenous fistula patency and maturation

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The arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is the preferred method of long-term haemodialysis. However, it has been shown to have a substantial rate of maturation failure. The formation of an AVF creates haemodynamic changes to blood flow in the arm with diversion of blood away from the distal circulation into the low pressure venous system, in turn, leading to thermal changes distally. In this study, we aimed to assess the novel use of infrared thermal imaging as a predictor of arteriovenous maturation.


A prospective cohort study was conducted on 100 consecutive patients who had AVF formation from December 2015 to June 2016. Infrared thermal imaging was undertaken pre- and post-operatively on the day of surgery to assess thermal changes to the arms and to assess them as predictors of clinical patency and functional maturation.


For clinical patency, infrared thermal imaging was found to have a positive predictive value of 88% and a negative predictive value of 86%. For functional maturation, it was found to have a positive predictive value of 84%, a negative predictive value of 95%. In addition, it was shown to have superiority to the commonly used intra-operative predictor of thrill as well as other independent pre-operative patient factors.


Infrared thermal imaging has been found to be a very useful tool in accurately predicting fistula patency and maturation.

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