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Ren Fail. 2003 Nov;25(6):967-73.

Role of vascular access as a risk factor for infections in hemodialysis.

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Department of Nephrology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India.


Infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in chronic hemodialysis patients. This single center prospective study was carried out to determine the incidence and risk factors for infection in hemodialysis patients and plan appropriate strategies to reduce the risk of infection. A total of 84 consecutive patients who were initiated on hemodialysis over a 2-year period were followed until they either received a kidney transplant or died. In our hospital, as a policy, patients are offered hemodialysis as a bridge therapy to a kidney transplant. The mean duration of follow up was 3 months (range 1-11.8 months). The factors associated with at least one episode of infection were evaluated. Statistical analysis was done by multivariate stepwise logistic regression method. Fifty-one patients had a total of 57 episodes (67.8%) of infection. Of the 44 episodes of acute bacterial infections, vascular access exit site infection was the commonest followed by septicemia (13 patients, 29.5%). Staphylococcus aureus was the commonest bacterial isolate observed in 14 patients. On multivariate analysis, three risk factors for infection were identified: (1) nonarteriovenous fistula (AVF) vascular access for hemodialysis (p = 0.02), (2) increased number of hemodialysis sessions (p = 0.03), and (3) lower serum calcium level (p = 0.02). NonAVF vascular access was found to be the most important risk factor for infection in hemodialysis patients. Creation of an AV fistula, preferably at an early stage, appears beneficial for minimizing the risk of infection even in patients who are on short-term hemodialysis as a bridge therapy towards a kidney transplant.

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