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J Vasc Access. 2011 Jan-Mar;12(1):57-62.

Malnutrition, infection and arteriovenous fistula failure: is there a link?

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  • 1Division of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation Unit, Annunziata Hospital, Cosenza, Italy.



The histology of neointimal hyperplasia, the primary cause of arteriovenous fistula (AVF) stenosis, resembles the histology of atherosclerosis. We evaluated classic atherogenic risk factors such as hypertension, smoking, diabetes, cholesterol, and evaluated the role of expanded risk factors such as: cytomegalovirus (CMV), Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), Chlamydia pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae), infection, and malnutrition, as possible causes of AVF failure in hemodialysis (HD) patients.


AVF of 91 HD patients were monitored by on-line blood flow measurement (Qac); levels of albumin, fibrinogen, C-reactive protein and plasma cholesterol were recorded. Nutrition was evaluated via the Malnutrition Inflammation Score and the normalized protein intake (nPCR). Seropositivity to CMV, C. pneumoniae and H. Pylori were assessed.


Twenty-one patients had at least one episode of vascular access thrombosis; 17 patients had stenotic lesions. Analysis of survival tables revealed that patients who had high IgG CMV antibody levels had a higher probability of AVF failure than patients with lower CMV antibody levels. The difference in the empirical survival functions was statistically significant when we stratified by CMV antibody levels, unlike H. pylori or C. pneumoniae. In a logistic regression model, CMV, increased cholesterol, and decreases in nPCR and Qac significantly increased the risk of AVF failure.


Our study suggests that CMV infection, total plasma cholesterol, decreased Qac, and nPCR are important risk factors of AVF failure in HD patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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