Vascular Access Flow Surveillance is a medical imperative. Surveillance prolongs life, restores health, reduces pain and suffering in End Stage Renal Disease patients. Ultrasound transit-time indicator dilution flow technology is used to perform surveillance of a patients’ vascular access to prevent or delay the formation of a stenosis in the access. A stenosis can lead to a thrombosis and, if not attended to, ultimately abandonment of the access. Reducing such complications minimizes hemodialysis patient morbidity and mortality. One study demonstrated that vascular access blood flow monitoring decreased fistula thrombosis rate by at least 50%, while reducing access related costs by 48.5%.1
The hemodialysis patient’s vascular access is his or her lifeline. Successful hemodialysis depends on the health of the access. When an access fails, serious complications occur. Consequently, the vascular access has often been called the Achilles heel of hemodialysis.
To assess the effectiveness of hemodialysis, clinicians must know whether the flow that is moving through a vascular access can actually sustain hemodialysis. Before Transonic hemodialysis surveillance, direct measurement of vascular access flow did not exist. Clinicians had to rely on surrogate measurements such as the blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test to learn a percentage of recirculation in order to assess the hemodialysis. Test results took time. They were not precise.