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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013 Jul;24(8):1297-304. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2012060632. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Fistula first is not always the best strategy for the elderly.

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  • 1Division of Nephrology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA. ranilx@yahoo.com


Whether placing a fistula first is the superior predialysis approach among octogenarians is unknown. We analyzed data from a cohort of 115,425 incident hemodialysis patients ≥67 years old derived from the US Renal Data System with linked Medicare claims, which allowed us to identify the first predialysis vascular access placed rather than the first access used. We used proportional hazard models to evaluate all-cause mortality outcomes based on first vascular access placed, considering the fistula group as the reference. In the study population, 21,436 patients had fistulas as the first predialysis access placed, 3472 had grafts, and 90,517 had catheters. Those patients with a catheter as the first predialysis access placed had significantly inferior survival compared with those patients with a fistula (HR=1.77; 95% CI=1.73 to 1.81; P<0.001). However, we did not detect a significant mortality difference between those patients with a graft as the first access placed and those patients with a fistula (HR=1.05; 95% CI=1.00 to 1.11; P=0.06). Analyzing mortality stratified by age groups, grafts as the first predialysis access placed had inferior mortality outcomes compared with fistulas for the 67 to ≤79-years age group (HR=1.10; 95% CI=1.02 to 1.17; P=0.007), but differences between these groups were not statistically significant for the 80 to ≤89- and the >90-years age groups. In conclusion, fistula first does not seem to be clearly superior to graft placement first in the elderly, because each strategy associates with similar mortality outcomes in octogenarians and nonagenarians.

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[Available on 2014/7/31]
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