The Use of Covered Nitinol Stents to Salvage Dialysis Grafts After Multiple Failures

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Abstract

The increasing number of patients requiring hemodialysis and the limited number of access sites have resulted in an increase in multiple graft revisions to maintain access for hemodialysis. Venous outflow or anastomotic stenoses in vascular grafts tend to recur and contribute to the difficulty in maintaining a functioning graft. Thus, extending the life of a failed graft becomes an important objective of this study, which was to assess the use of covered nitinol stents to salvage expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) grafts with venous anastomotic or outflow stenosis that have failed after multiple revisions. This is a review of 8 failed nonau-togenous ePTFE grafts with isolated venous anastomotic or proximal outflow stenoses that had undergone multiple previous revisions, had failed percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA), and required placement of a covered nitinol stent. Graft locations were forearm (2), upper arm (4), and femoral (2). The mean number of interventions per patient before stent placement was 5.87 thrombectomies (range 2–28) and 3.38 balloon angioplasties (range 2–19). Five patients had 0.62 interposition grafting and 3 had patch angioplasty. All 8 patients (100%) underwent successful dialysis after thrombectomy and stenting. The primary and secondary patency rates after stent placement were 50% and 75%, and 25% and 75%, at 3 and 6 months, respectively. Percutaneous thrombectomy, balloon angioplasty, and concomitant covered nitinol stent placement extend the function of hemodialysis access grafts that have previously failed multiple times.

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