Autologous arteriovenous access is the key to long-term success with hemodialysis and is strongly supported by the National Kidney Foundation's Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative guidelines. Basilic vein transposition (BVT) fulfills the need for a durable conduit with high patency and maturation rates. This retrospective review examines a single group's experience with this procedure.
All patients undergoing BVT for hemodialysis with available follow-up data were reviewed. Telephone interviews were used to supplement clinical data where needed. Functional assisted patency was used as the end point for this procedure, and if the access was never used for dialysis, then the patency was considered zero. Secondary interventions performed while the access remained patent and in use were not considered detrimental to the patency reported.
One hundred seventy BVTs in 162 patients were performed between November 1992 and October 2001. There were 87 women (53.7%) and 112 black patients (69.1%); hypertension was present in 138 patients (85.2%) and diabetes in 89 patients (54.9%). Each year, an increasing incidence of BVT was performed in our dialysis population. The BVT was performed as the first access in that extremity in 73 of the procedures (42.9%). Functional patency (primary assisted) was achieved in 40.0% at 2 years and 15.2% at 5 years. The mean assisted patency was 14.6 months. To maintain BVT patency, 40 percutaneous secondary interventions (69.0%) and 18 surgical revisions (31.0%) occurred in 32 patients (19.0%). Ligation for swelling was necessary in 4 patients (2.5%), and steal syndrome occurred in 3 patients (1.9%).
BVT is a useful autologous procedure for hemodialysis and the preferred access alternative in patients without an adequate cephalic vein. Although patencies remain poor relative to other conventional arterial vascular procedures, BVT is our most durable hemodialysis access procedure and is often the only available autologous conduit for hemodialysis.