Ischemic Monomelic Neuropathy: An Under-Recognized Complication of Hemodialysis Access

Robert J. Hye, Yehuda G. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the past 3 years six episodes of ischemic monomelic neuropathy (IMN) have been identified in five patients as a complication of upper extremity dialysis grafts. All patients had long-standing insulin-dependent diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, and brachial artery graft origins, whereas 60% had peripheral vascular disease. Five episodes occurred immediately after graft placement, whereas one was due to a graft-related thromboembolus. Diagnostic delay was common with initial findings attributed to anesthesia, positioning, or surgical trauma. Electrophysiologic studies showed underlying diabetic neuropathy with severe multifocal neuropathy distal to the grafts. Digital pressure indices were reduced but there was no critical ischemia. In three cases ischemia was completely corrected with improvement in one. One patient had proximal balloon angioplasty with no improvement and of the two untreated patients, one improved slightly. Ischemic monomelic neuropathy is a rare but disabling complication of dialysis access in diabetic uremic patients. Its occurrence is unpredictable and diagnostic delay is common. Correction of ischemia is indicated but usually does not improve the neuropathy. Prevention requires further research to more accurately characterize the patients at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-582
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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