Purpose: Differences in the reporting methods of results for arteriovenous (AV) access can dramatically affect apparent outcome. To enable meaningful comparisons in the literature, the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Association for Vascular Surgery (SVS/AAVS) recently published reporting standards for dialysis access. The purpose of the present study was to determine infection rates, patency rates, and possible predictive factors for prosthetic thigh AV access outcomes with the reporting standards of the SVS/AAVS.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed of all patients who underwent placement of thigh AV access by the Surgical Teaching Service at Greenville Memorial Hospital between 1989 and 2001. Outcomes were determined based on SVS/AAVS Standards for Reports Dealing with AV Accesses. The rate of revision per year of access patency was also determined; this end point more accurately reflects the true cost and morbidity associated with AV access than do patency or infection rates alone.
Results: One hundred twenty-five polytetrafluoroethylene thigh AV accesses were placed in 100 patients. Nine accesses were excluded from the study, six because there was no patient follow-up and 3 as a result of deaths unrelated to the access procedure and which occurred less than 30 days after access placement. There were six (4%) late access-related deaths. There were 18 (15%) early access failures, related to infection in 14 cases (12%), thrombosis in three cases (2%), and steal in one case (1%). Early failure was more common in patients with diabetes mellitus (P =.036). The primary and secondary functional patency rates were 19% and 54%, respectively, at 2 years. Infection occurred in 48 (41%) accesses. The patency and infection rates were not influenced by patient age, gender, body mass index, or diabetes mellitus. The median number of interventions per year of access patency was 1.68, and this outcome was positively correlated with body mass index (P <.001).
Conclusions: Prosthetic AV access in the thigh is associated with higher morbidity compared with that reported for the upper extremity, and should be considered only if no upper extremity AV access option is available. Early access failure and the requirement for an increased number of interventions to reestablish and maintain access patency are more common in patients with diabetes mellitus and obesity. The number of interventions per year of access patency is a valuable end point when assessing the outcome of AV access procedures.