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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 1/2017

Clinical use of computational modeling for surgical planning of arteriovenous fistula for hemodialysis

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making > Ausgabe 1/2017
Michela Bozzetto, Stefano Rota, Valentina Vigo, Francesco Casucci, Carlo Lomonte, Walter Morale, Massimo Senatore, Luigi Tazza, Massimo Lodi, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Andrea Remuzzi
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12911-017-0420-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Autogenous arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is the best vascular access (VA) for hemodialysis, but its creation is still a critical procedure. Physical examination, vascular mapping and doppler ultrasound (DUS) evaluation are recommended for AVF planning, but they can not provide direct indication on AVF outcome. We recently developed and validated in a clinical trial a patient-specific computational model to predict pre-operatively the blood flow volume (BFV) in AVF for different surgical configuration on the basis of demographic, clinical and DUS data. In the present investigation we tested power of prediction and usability of the computational model in routine clinical setting.


We developed a web-based system (AVF.SIM) that integrates the computational model in a single procedure, including data collection and transfer, simulation management and data storage. A usability test on observational data was designed to compare predicted vs. measured BFV and evaluate the acceptance of the system in the clinical setting. Six Italian nephrology units were involved in the evaluation for a 6-month period that included all incident dialysis patients with indication for AVF surgery.


Out of the 74 patients, complete data from 60 patients were included in the final dataset. Predicted brachial BFV at 40 days after surgery showed a good correlation with measured values (in average 787 ± 306 vs. 751 ± 267 mL/min, R = 0.81, p < 0.001). For distal AVFs the mean difference (±SD) between predicted vs. measured BFV was −2.0 ± 20.9%, with 50% of predicted values in the range of 86–121% of measured BFV. Feedbacks provided by clinicians indicate that AVF.SIM is easy to use and well accepted in clinical routine, with limited additional workload.


Clinical use of computational modeling for AVF surgical planning can help the surgeon to select the best surgical strategy, reducing AVF early failures and complications. This approach allows individualization of VA care, with the aim to reduce the costs associated with VA dysfunction, and to improve AVF clinical outcome.
Additional file 1: Example of report containing the results of simulation. (PDF 55 kb)
Additional file 2: Usability test questionnaire submitted to clinicians. (PDF 88 kb)
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