Background/Aims: Pulse wave analysis (PWA) and pulse wave velocity (PWV) provide information about arterial stiffness and elasticity, which is mainly used for cardiovascular risk stratification. In the presented prospective observational pilot study, we examined the hypothesis that radiocephalic fistula (RCF)-related changes of haemodynamics and blood vessel morphology including high as well as low flow can be seen in specific changes of pulse wave (PW) morphology.
Methods: Fifty-six patients with RCF underwent local ambilateral peripheral PWA and PWV measurement with the SphygmoCor® device. Given that the output parameters of the SphygmoCor® are not relevant for the study objectives, we defined new suitable parameters for PWA in direct proximity to fistulas and established an appropriate analysing algorithm. Duplex sonography served as reference method.
Results: Marked changes of peripheral PW morphology when considering interarm differences of slope and areas between the fistula and non-fistula arms were observed in the Arteria radialis, A. brachialis and arterialized Vena cephalica. The sum of the slope differences was found to correlate with an increased flow, while in patients with fistula failure no changes in PW morphology were seen. Moreover, PWV was significantly reduced in the fistula arm.
Conclusion: Beside duplex sonography, ambilateral peripheral PWA and PWV measurements are potential new clinical applications to characterize and monitor RCF function, especially in terms of high and low flow.