Primary balloon angioplasty plus balloon angioplasty maturation to upgrade small-caliber veins (<3 mm) for arteriovenous fistulas.

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OBJECTIVE: Small-diameter veins are often a limiting factor for the successful creation of arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs). This study evaluated the use of intraoperative primary balloon angioplasty (PBA) as a technique to upgrade small-diameter veins during AVF creation. Sequential balloon angioplasty maturation (BAM) was evaluated as a technique to salvage failed fistulas, expedite maturation, and improve the patency of AVFs after PBA.

METHODS: Sixty-two PBAs were performed in 55 patients with an intent-to-treat using an all-autologous policy. PBAs of veins were performed just before AVF creation using 2.5- to 4-mm angioplasty balloons (1- to 1.5-mm larger than the nominal vein diameter). PBAs were performed through the spatulated end of the vein for a length of up to 8 cm using hydrophilic guidewires and hand inflations without fluoroscopy. BAM was performed in 53 of the 62 PBAs at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after the PBA. Successful outcome was determined as the functional ability to use the fistula for hemodialysis without surgical revision.

RESULTS: Of the 62 PBAs, 53 (85.4%), comprising 47 of the original AVFs and 6 new site AVFs created at other sites, remained patent and subsequently underwent BAM with a resulting functional AVF. Fifteen of the 47 original AVFs: 14 due to occlusion; one AVF with a steal was ligated. Seven of the 14 fistulas that occluded were salvaged using recanalization techniques during sequential BAMs. Two of the seven fistulas that were not salvaged required AVGs (3%), and five patients underwent redo AVFs using alternative veins. These five cases were also performed using PBAs and BAMs technique. One patient with a functioning fistula underwent intentional ligation for steal syndrome and also underwent an alternative site AVF, PBA, and BAM. At 3 months, 53 AVFs were functional and successfully used for dialysis. Overall, a working AVF was obtained at the initial site in 47 of 55 patients (85.4%), and 53 (96.3%) received working AVFs that were functioning for dialysis access.

CONCLUSIONS: Small or suboptimal veins can undergo PBA and then be matured to create functioning AVFs 90% autogenous AVF rates can be achieved using PBA and BAM. BAM can be successfully used to mature AVFs created from small veins and salvage thrombosed AVFs in many cases. The use of these techniques may decrease the number of patients requiring AVGs and indwelling catheters.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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