Venous pressure measured at the venous bubble trap (VPdm) is a complex function of true intra-access pressure (VP0), hematocrit, needle gauge, and blood flow. In a patient free circuit, needle gauge, hematocrit, and blood flow influenced the pressure drop through the venous return needle. Measured intra-access pressure (VPm) and VPdm also were determined 149 times in 83 subjects. The increase in VPdm above VP0 under conditions of flow through 16 gauge needles was affected by blood flow rate, hematocrit, and VP0 with coefficients similar to those found in vitro. Calculation of VP0 from VPdm produced an absolute difference > 20 mmHg in 35–40% of cases. Mean VP0 was significantly lower in subjects with native compared with expanded po-lytetrafluorethylene accesses. It was concluded that VP0 is influenced by access type and can be estimated but that direct measurement is preferred. Direct measurement of VP0 may be a sensitive test to screen for venous outlet stenosis because it should vary with access flow and outlet geometry.
©1991 American Society of Artificial Internal Organs