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Revascularization of Dialysis AVFs

Distal revascularization and interval ligation (DRIL) is commonly used to treat ischemic steal syndrome caused by arteriovenous hemodialysis access and has been associated with good outcomes. However, the literature lacks technical details of a successful intervention. We tested the hypothesis that a brachial-level arteriovenous fistula (AVF) generates a zone of low arterial blood pressure in the brachial artery near the AVF origin.


We identified patients with ischemic steal syndrome caused by an AVF originating from the brachial artery level who were eligible for the DRIL procedure. All patients were studied with invasive pressure monitoring in the brachial artery at the time of digital subtraction angiography. We measured systolic, diastolic and mean arterial blood pressure at 5 cm intervals from a point in the arterial circulation 5 cm distal to the origin of the AVF and continuing proximally into the subclavian artery.


Our series involved 10 patients with a mean age of 66.5 (range 53–81) years. Four patients were women and 8 had diabetes. All patients had grade 3 ischemic steal syndrome with ischemic rest pain and/or ischemic tissue loss. Mean systolic, diastolic and arterial pressures increased from the level of the AVF until central pressures were reached. Systolic blood pressure was significantly lower than central blood pressure until a level 20–25 cm proximal to the AVF.