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ABSTRACT

Pneumatic tourniquet has been frequently utilized in various surgical specialties to facilitate surgical procedures on the extremities. However, its use for surgical procedures of hemodialysis access has been limited to some surgeons in the United States and often confined to the hospital settings under general anesthesia or regional nerve block. We have successfully employed a pneumatic tourniquet system for surgical procedures of hemodialysis access under conscious sedation and local anesthesia in an outpatient setting. Because prolonged tourniquet inflation is associated with ischemic pain and other potential complications, we have limited the continuous inflation time to <30 minutes. Our recent data from 550 surgical procedures of hemodialysis access have emphasized that pneumatic tourniquet use is well tolerated under conscious sedation and not associated with significant adverse events. These and other reported data suggest that pneumatic tourniquet can reduce procedure time, minimize required dissection, reduce vascular trauma by eliminating vascular clamps and potentially improve the outcomes of surgical procedures of hemodialysis access. These advantages may be translated into cost savings for hemodialysis access care. This review discusses practical issues of pneumatic tourniquet use and its applications in surgical procedures of hemodialysis access.