Background and objectives Given different sites of stenosis and access blood flow rates (Qa), the criteria for diagnosing fistula stenosis might vary according to anastomotic site. To test this, we analyzed the database of a prospective blinded study seeking an optimal bedside screening program for fistula stenosis.Design, setting, participants, & measurements Several methods used during dialysis (physical examination [PE], dynamic and derived static venous pressure [VAPR], dialysis blood pump flow/arterial pressure ratio, and Qa measurement) to diagnose angiographically-proven >50% stenosis were assessed in an unselected population of hemodialysis patients with mature fistulae (43 at the wrist [distal fistulae], 76 at midforearm or the elbow [proximal fistulae]).Results Prevalence of inflow stenosis was uninfluenced by anastomotic site, whereas outflow stenoses were more prevalent in proximal fistulae. The best test for inflow stenosis was Qa <650 ml/min in distal fistulae and a combination of a positive PE and Qa <900 ml/m in proximal fistulae. In proximal fistulae, PE and VAPR >0.5 were both equally highly diagnostic of outflow stenosis. Tailoring choice of test to site of the anastomosis may also contain the screening-associated workload, by reducing the need to perform PE and measure VAPR, compared with a screening approach regardless of the access location.Conclusions Our study shows that an effective bedside screening program with ≥85% accuracy for fistula stenosis can be tailored to the site of the anastomosis, Qa being the tool of choice for the wrist, and PE alone or combined with Qa and VAPR measurements for more proximally-located accesses.
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