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Ann Vasc Surg. 2019 Oct;60:203-210. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2019.03.031. Epub 2019 Jun 12.

Impact of Early Cannulation Grafts on Quality and Cost of Care for Patients With End-Stage Renal Disease.

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Director of Performance Improvement, Northwest Community Healthcare, Arlington Heights, IL. Electronic address:



The annual cost of care associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) per patient on hemodialysis is approaching $100,000, with nearly $42 billion in national spend per year. Early cannulation arteriovenous grafts (ECAVGs) help decrease the use of central venous catheters (CVCs), thus potentially decreasing the cost of care. However, a formal financial analysis that also includes the cost of CVC-related complications and secondary interventions has not been completed. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the overall financial costs associated with ECAVGs on patients with ESRD during a one-year period.


Access modality, complications, secondary interventions, hospital outcomes, and cost of care were determined for 397 sequential patients who underwent access creation between July 2014 and October 2018. A detailed financial analysis was completed, including an evaluation of implant, supplies, medications, laboratories, labor, and other direct costs. All variables were measured at the time of the index procedure, 30 days, 90 days, 180 days, 270 days, and one year.


There were 131 patients who underwent arteriovenous fistula (AVF) and 266 who underwent ECAVG for dialysis access. The average cost of care was $17,523 for AVF and $5,894 for ECAVG at one year (P < 0.01). Fewer CVC-related complications and secondary interventions associated with ECAVGs saved $11,630 per patient with ESRD, primarily in the form of supply costs. Fewer CVCs in the patients receiving ECAVGs led to an additional $1,083 decrease in cost associated with sepsis reduction at one year. A subsequent decrease in length of stay and ICU utilization led to an additional $2.0 million decrease in annual cost of care for patients with ESRD.


The use of ECAVGs has significant cost savings over using an AVF and CVC for urgent-start dialysis in patients with ESRD. This cost savings is secondary to decreased CVC-related complications and fewer secondary interventions. Significant national savings are possible with appropriate use of ECAVGs in patients with ESRD.


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