Operative techniques to prevent dialysis access-associated steal syndrome in high-risk patients undergoing surgery for hemodialysis access: A systematic review

Document Type



Surgery; General Surgery


Up to 10% of patients suffer from various degrees of dialysis access-associated steal syndrome (DASS) after surgery for hemodialysis access. This systematic review was conducted to find out optimal intra-operative techniques to prevent DASS in high-risk patients. This systematic review is registered with PROSPERO (2017:CRD42017060804). It was conducted at Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. All types of studies conducted on intra-operative techniques to prevent DASS in high-risk population (Age > 60 years, female gender, diabetes mellitus, peripheral arterial disease and previous DASS) undergoing access creation from January 1990 till April 2019 were included in the systematic review. Thorough search was conducted on Pubmed, Google Scholar and Cochrane databases to identify relevant articles. Included studies reviewed for success of various techniques to prevent dialysis access steal syndrome are summarized. Out of 125 studies in the initial search, six met the inclusion criteria. Five were retrospective case series while one was a case report. The largest study sample size was 32. All but one study had arterio-venous access creation on an arm. "Proximalization of arterial inflow" was described in three and "prophylactic distal revascularization and interval ligation (DRIL) procedure" in two studies to prevent DASS. Only one patient out of these studies developed DASS at an overall follow-up of 7-42 months. Proximalization of inflow has been reported as the most common procedure performed to prevent DASS followed by extension technique and DRIL procedure. All three procedures have satisfactory outcome with no clear superiority of one over the other.


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