Dialysis Fistula/ Graft Evaluation

A dialysis access ultrasound examines an arteriovenous fistula or graft.  Images are acquired using a hand held probe (transducer) that is applied to the arm. 

Why is a dialysis fistula/graft evaluation performed?

This test is used to:

  • Evaluate new dialysis access.
  • Look for obstruction of a fistula/graft that may be causing difficulty with dialysis.
  • Surveillance of existing dialysis access.

Can I eat or drink on the day of the test?

Yes. Eat and drink as you normally would the day of the test (unless you are also scheduled that day for an ultrasound exam that requires fasting).

Should I take my medications the day of the test?

Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor.

What happens during the test?

  • A vascular sonographer will perform the dialysis access evaluation.
  • You will be asked to remove your shirt and change into a gown.
  • The sonographer will ask you to lie on your back on an exam table.  During the test the sonographer will move a transducer along your arm. The exam will extend from your neck down your arm.  The transducer will have a small amount of gel on the end of it. The gel used during the exam is water-soluble and easily washes off with soap and water.

How will I feel during the test?

You should feel no significant discomfort during this test. You will feel slight pressure of the transducer on your arm.

How long does the test take?

This exam usually takes about 30-45 minutes, depending on many variables. After the test, you may go home or go to your other scheduled appointments.

How do I get the results of my test?

After a vascular surgeon has interpreted your exam, the results will be sent to your referring physician and/or the vascular surgeon will go over the results with you during a follow-up appointment.