Background. Vascular access recirculation is an important cause of diminished dialysis efficiency. We propose a new screening test based on glucose infusion as a tracer for recirculation. Methods. The glucose infusion test (GIT) protocol comprises a basal blood sample (A) from the arterial port, a 5 mL bolus of 20% glucose into the venous chamber (time 0), followed by a second sample (B) in four seconds (from 13 to 17 s with Q(B) 300 mL/min) from the same port. The blood glucose level is determined at the bedside on A and B with a reflectance photometer (CV 1.8%). Interpretation of the test is straightforward: If B = A, there is no recirculation, whereas if B > A, recirculation can be calculated from the regression equation: 0.046 X (B - A) + 0.07, obtained from in vitro tests reproducing artificial recirculation at 0, 5, and 10%. To validate this new method in vivo, we compared GIT and the urea test on 39 hemodialysis patients, obtaining a good correlation (r = 0.93). The two tests were considered positive (recirculation present) when the lower 95% confidence intervals were more than zero. Results. Our patients were divided into two groups: those with (22 out of 39, mean recirculation 11.8%) or without recirculation (17 out of 39, mean 0.06%). The urea test did not recognize 7 out of 22 patients because they had a small recirculation below the urea test limit of detection. Conclusions. GIT was more sensitive (detection limit 0.3%), simpler, and immediate in showing the results than the urea test. It is an accurate and low-cost technique for screening and follow-up of vascular access in a dialysis unit.
- Cardiopulmonary recirculation
- Dialysis efficiency
- Urea test
- Vascular access
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