Management of Hand Ischemia in Patients with Hemodialysis Access by Distal Arterial Ligation and Revascularization

Peter H. Lin, Changyi Chen, Scott M. Suroweic, Brian Conklin, Julie Macdonald, Victor J. Weiss, Thomas F. Dodson, Alan B. Lumsden

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5 Scopus citations


Hand ischemia due to arterial steal syndrome is an infrequent but potentially serious complication of hemodialysis access procedures. Correction of symptomatic steal syndrome typically involves fistula ligation, arterial banding, or graft lengthening, each of which provides varying degrees of success. The purpose of this study is to evaluate experience in the treatment of dialysis-associated hand ischemia by distal artery ligation and revascularization. A retrospective review was performed on 14 patients over a 6-year period who developed hand ischemia following hemodialysis access construction and underwent distal artery ligation and revascularization. Patient demographic data, operative indications, risk factors, and treatment outcome were noted. There were 10 men and four women, with a mean age of 52 years (range 21 to 73). Hand ischemia occurred in nine patients with arteriovenous grafts and five patients with arteriovenous fistulas. Nine patients developed steal syndrome within 1 month following the hemodialysis access procedure. All 14 patients underwent a surgical procedure for hand ischemia, which included ligation of the artery distal to arteriovenous fistula and arterial bypass, with reverse saphenous vein grafts in 10 patients, reversed cephalic vein grafts in three patients, and polytetrafluoroethylene graft in one patient. One patient with severe digital gangrene also required amputation. There was no perioperative morbidity or mortality. Following operation, all showed immediate improvement of the affected hand and remained free of symptoms. The cumulative patency rates of the hemodialysis access following the corrective procedure at 1, 3, and 5 years were 85.7%, 64.2%, and 42.9%, respectively. All arterial bypasses remained patent during follow-up, which ranged from 1 month to 5 years (mean 35 months). Distal arterial ligation with revascularization is an effective and durable treatment for patients with arterial steal syndrome following hemodialysis access construction. This technique can be performed with minimal morbidity and maintains a continuous access for hemodialysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalVascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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