Vascular access survival and incidence of revisions: a comparison of prosthetic grafts, simple autogenous fistulas, and venous transposition fistulas from the United States Renal Data System Dialysis Morbidity and Mortality Study

J Vasc Surg. 2001 Oct;34(4):694-700. doi: 10.1067/mva.2001.117890.


Objective: The study's aim was to evaluate access patency and incidence of revisions in patients initiating hemodialysis and to determine differences in access performance by type of access among patient subgroups.

Methods: The study used data from the United States Renal Data System Dialysis Morbidity and Mortality Study Wave 2, which contained a random sample of dialysis patients initiating dialysis in 1996 and early 1997. Failures and revisions were evaluated among 2247 newly placed hemodialysis accesses by using Cox proportional hazards regression model and Poisson regression. Primary and secondary patency rates were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: Fifteen hundred seventy-four prosthetic grafts, 492 simple autogenous fistulas, and 181 venous transposition fistulas were available for evaluation. Prosthetic grafts had a 41% greater risk of primary failure compared with simple fistulas (relative risk, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.22-1.64; P < .001) and a 91% higher incidence of revision (relative risk, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.60-2.28; P <.001). At 2 years, autogenous fistulas demonstrated superior primary patency (39.8% versus 24.6%, P < .001) and equivalent secondary patency (64.3% versus 59.5%, P = .24) compared with prosthetic grafts. When compared with simple fistulas, vein transpositions demonstrated equivalent secondary patency at 2 years (61.5% versus 64.3%, P = .43) but inferior primary patency (27.7% versus 39.8%, P = .008) and had a 32% increased incidence of revision (P = .04). Autogenous fistulas had superior primary patency compared with prosthetic grafts in all patient subgroups except for patients with previously failed access. Vein transpositions showed the greatest benefit in terms of patency and incidence of revision in women and in patients with previously failed access.

Conclusions: The preferential placement of autogenous fistulas may increase primary patency and decrease the incidence of revisions. Vein transpositions had similar secondary patency compared with simple fistulas, but required more revisions. The greatest benefit of a vein transposition fistula was seen in women and in patients with a history of access failure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arteriovenous Shunt, Surgical / adverse effects*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation / adverse effects*
  • Databases as Topic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Occlusion, Vascular / epidemiology*
  • Graft Occlusion, Vascular / etiology*
  • Graft Occlusion, Vascular / surgery
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Population Surveillance
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Regression Analysis
  • Renal Dialysis / instrumentation*
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vascular Patency