A Mount Sinai-led study has identified a better treatment option for a common complication of hemodialysis, bringing new hope to millions of patients who rely on dialysis to survive but often must undergo repeated hospital visits to make continued treatment possible.
The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, used drug-coated balloon angioplasty to treat arteriovenous fistulas, access points created by surgeons through which the patient’s blood can be removed, sent through the dialysis machine to have impurities filtered out, and returned to the patient’s body. Hemodialysis fistulas frequently become blocked and stop working. This has traditionally been treated by either inserting a stent to keep the fistula open, or by standard angioplasty, in which a tiny balloon is threaded through the blood vessel and then expanded to force the fistula open. Both procedures are commonly used, but in many cases, they only are able to keep the vessel open for a few months. “If we can reduce the number of interventions and keep these patients out of the hospital, we can dramatically improve their quality of life,” said Robert Lookstein, MD, one of the authors of the study.
Executive Vice Chair, Diagnostic, Molecular, and Interventional Radiology Mount Sinai Health System Professor, Diagnostic, Molecular, and Interventional Radiology, and Surgery Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai