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J Vasc Access. 2010 Jan-Mar;11(1):31-7.

Patient-centric analysis of dialysis access outcomes.

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  • 1Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, FL, USA.



Dialysis access literature has traditionally focused on fistula patency as the primary outcome measure, but this approach falls short in describing the entire spectrum of dialysis access care. Using our prospectively maintained vascular access data base, a comprehensive, patient-centered analysis of arteriovenous access placement and interventions, central venous catheter use, and associated complications is performed.


Twenty-six patients receiving 39 arteriovenous fistula (AVF), eight prosthetic grafts and 52 catheters were followed longitudinally for an average of 4.1 yrs to determine the time of initial cannulation, need for revision, and the time of abandonment for each AV access. Access complications secondary to infection, thrombosis, stenosis, and aneurysmal degeneration were tabulated. The time of permanent dialysis catheter placement and removal was collected, along with infection and thrombotic complications related to their use.


Fifty-four percent of the AVFs matured without the need for intervention, while 13% required revision to promote maturation. One-third of the AVFs failed primarily or following revision and were never used for dialysis. Fistulae were initially cannulated an average of 9.5 months following implantation and lasted 27.2 months before abandonment. AVF revisions were performed an average of 7.5 months following maturation and provided an additional 19.8 months of usability. Fifty percent of prosthetic grafts could be used without intervention, while 25% were used only after revision and 25% were abandoned without being used. Grafts were accessed an average of 2.7 months after implantation and lasted 14.1 months after the initial cannulation. Twenty-three patients received a total of 52 catheters during the study, with an average implantation time of 6.5 months. Sixty-three percent of the catheters developed one or more complications, for a rate of 1.3 complications per year of indwelling catheter.


The current study provides a novel approach for the comprehensive evaluation of access care for patients undergoing hemodialysis through the development of a patient-centric approach to examine the complexities and shortcomings in dialysis access care. Despite some difficulties in achieving fistula maturation, an AVF prevalence rate was 66%, meeting the 65% goal set by the Fistula First Initiative. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the remainder of the dialysis support was provided by catheters, with a 27% catheter prevalence rate.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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