Achieving Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative guidelines for native arteriovenous fistulae using the radiocephalic forearm fistula (lower-arm fistula [LAF]) is difficult. This study reports results using the upper-arm native arteriovenous fistula (UAF). From a prospective access database (1992 to 1998), this study was based on 204 patients (322 accesses). Average patient age was 56 +/- 1 years, 63% were men, and 47% had diabetes. A native fistula was the first access in 73% of patients (36%, LAFs; 37%, UAFs) and accounted for 48% of subsequent accesses (13%, LAFs; 35%, UAFs). Younger men were more likely to receive an LAF, but there was no demographic difference between patients receiving a UAF or arteriovenous graft (AVG). Both primary unassisted and cumulative access patencies were significantly better for UAFs than either LAFs or AVGs. For first accesses, cumulative access patency rates at 1, 3, and 5 years were 71%, 57%, and 57% for UAFs; 54%, 46%, and 36% for LAFs; and 54%, 28%, and 0% for AVGs (P < 0.01). Despite shorter access survival, AVGs required more total access procedures than either UAFs or LAFs (procedures per access: 2.5, 1.0, and 0.6 for AVGs, UAFs, and LAFs, respectively). When used, catheters were required for dialysis for a longer time for UAFs (median catheter days, 36, 53, and 56 for AVGs, LAFs, and UAFs, respectively; P < 0.05). Access flow rates were greater in UAFs (1,247 mL/min; n = 48; P < 0.01) than AVGs (851 mL/min; n = 30) or LAFs (938 mL/min; n = 31). There was no evidence that UAFs were banded or ligated for steal syndromes or heart failure more often than AVGs or LAFs. These results show that the UAF is a good alternative to an AVG for achieving Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative guidelines.
Copyright 2002 by the National Kidney Foundation, Inc.