Validation of haemodialysis recirculation and access blood flow measured by thermodilution.
BACKGROUND: Recirculation (R) and access blood flow (Qac) measurements are considered useful indicators of adequate delivery of haemodialysis. It was the purpose of this study to compare measurements of R and Qac obtained by two different techniques which are based on the same principle of indicator dilution, but which differ because of the characteristics of the injection and detection of the different indicators used. METHODS: Recirculation measured by a thermal dilution technique using temperature sensors (BTM, Fresenius Medical Care) was compared with recirculation measured by a validated saline dilution technique using ultrasonic transducers placed on arterial and venous segments of the extracorporeal circulation (HDM, Transonic Systems, Inc.). Calculated access flows were compared by Bland Altman analysis. Data are given as mean +/- SD. RESULTS: A total of 104 measurements obtained in 52 treatments (17 patients, 18 accesses) were compared. Recirculation measured with correct placement of blood lines and corrected for the effect of cardiopulmonary recirculation using the 'double recirculation technique' was -0.02 +/- 0.14% by the BTM technique and not different from the 0% measured by the HDM technique. Recirculation measured with reversed placement of blood lines and corrected for the effect of cardiopulmonary recirculation was 19.66 +/- 10.77% measured by the BTM technique compared with 20.87 +/- 11.64% measured by the HDM technique. The difference between techniques was small (-1.21 +/- 2.44%) albeit significant. Access flow calculated from BTM recirculation was 1328 +/- 627 ml/min compared with 1390 +/- 657 ml/min calculated by the HDM technique. There was no bias between techniques. CONCLUSION: BTM thermodilution yields results which are consistent with the HDM ultrasound dilution technique with regard to both recirculation and access flow measurement.